Two world title contenders disappear from important event. The WSL and Rip Curl refuse to comment.
I doubt if there’s a more compelling story within pro surfing than the Wright family.
Even the most cursory examination reveals myriad story lines: the two-time world champ Tyler who won a tour event at fourteen, qualified at sixteen and who threw it in briefly before returning to the tour and carving and plating her two titles.
Owen? Returns from a catastrophic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, paralysis and (temporary) inability to speak to win his first event back on tour one year later and return to his normal position as a world title contender.
Mikey? Hot and salty and greasy (like a sunbathing German) and a wildcard world title contender.
At J-Bay last week, Tyler and Owen both withdrew from their respective events citing colds, a mysterious “African flu.” The story was given little air time and no official statement was made.
I contacted the WSL who told me they’d provide me with an “update” from their “medical team.”
Shortly after, I was put in touch with Rip Curl’s Media and Communications manager, Mimi LaMontagne (disclaimer: I’ve worked with Mimi and find her a very good writer, an appealing person and so on) who said, “Unfortunately we are not making any statements on behalf of the Wrights at this time.”
Obviously, I called to ask:
Why was no statement made, either by the WSL or Rip Curl?
Was the virus so grave neither could surf?
Will they be at the next event?
Everything I was told henceforth was off the record, but nothing real exciting.
A. Virus wasn’t a big deal so no story.
2. Yep. Better to recover and be good for the next event.
The lack of an official statement about significant, and potentially world-title altering withdrawals from both events (Tyler is rated #4, Owen #11) strikes me, as it does you given the various commentary here, as very odd.
But it is a year of mystery.
John John’s mysterious knee injury. One contest called off because of sharks, another that treats the arrival of Great White sharks as a gorgeous sideshow and, now, two title contenders, one already a champion, who disappear from an important event and not a damn thing is said or written.
Oh it’s like a good old Hollywood melodrama!