And, like that, the calendar will soon flip to 2022 meaning that we are all two short years away from our second helping of professional Olympic surfing. The first serving came to us six-ish months ago from beautiful Japan where Brazil captured gold, the host nation silver (via Huntington Beach) and Australia’s Irukanjis the bronze thanks to the fine work of Owen Wright.
The World Surf League tour veteran will be 34 when Paris hosts the Games, the surfing component likely being staged in French Polynesia, which excites greatly and especially excites Wright. In a recent interview with Australia’s 9 News Wide World of Sport, the Culburra native seemed completely bullish on taking gold at the event, advanced paternal age be damned.
I’m definitely confident in my ability at Teahupoo. I have a really solid record in any conditions out there so I’m going to back myself against anybody no matter how big or small the waves are on the day,” he said, adding, “The wave can be intimidating if you don’t have the right mindset. It’s all about confidence in your own ability and backing yourself when the right wave comes. Having won an event there in the past, I’m looking for one thing only if I can qualify for Paris 2024, and that’s a gold medal.”
Wright’s track record does back up his big talk as he has made it to the quarters, or beyond, in his last seven Teahupoo starts winning in 2019 but… I don’t know. If I was a betting man, (which I am, it is just needlessly complicated to bet on surfing in the United States), I’d be pushing all my chips toward the John John Florence (gold), Gabriel Medina (silver), Jeremy Flores (bronze) trifecta.