Earlier today, footage was released of a provocative man fight at the U.S. Open of Surfing featuring one wearing no shirt and one wearing a striped shirt plus shoes. The action begins with the two speaking very closely before headbutts are given, small umbrellas thrown, punches delivered. As the waves in Huntington are, currently, 1 – 2 ft the man fight is assured to be the biggest thing that happened this year, thus, dominating conversation.
What happens in Huntington Beach, stays in Huntington Beach.
The U.S. Open of Surfing is entering its fourth day and how much of the Challenger Series stop number four have you watched thus far? Enough to see golden voice of surfing Joe Turpel transition seamlessly from describing high performance shortboarding to women’s longboarding? A searing Brodi Sale mush climb?
Very cool but even cooler to be there on the sand, rubbing shoulders with The People at the biggest surfing festival on earth. Huntington Beach, the U.S. Open of Surfing’s longtime home, has a hard-earned reputation as the “toughest town in the west,” regularly pairing competitive surfing with riots or port-a-potty tipping.
And Surf City, USA lived up to its billing, yesterday afternoon, as two adults engaged in what is being described “a provocative man fight.”
The action, captured to video, is picked up midway as the two thirty-somethings are speaking very close to each other. One is shirtless. The other is wearing a striped number that appears too small. After chatting for a moment the shirted man, also wearing a hat and glasses, headbutts his friend twice in the nose then socks him twice for good measure.
After tossing a small beach umbrella aside like a small beach umbrella, the two square off in a traditional boxing stance, hands low though and not very defensive. The man with the striped shirt goes for the body first, then a stiff left to the face followed by a right that drops his partner. As fighting happens these days, it appears the shirtless man has a Brazilian jiujitsu background. He staggers up, grips his friend’s neck and takes him down, landing in the power bottom position.
This is where it gets hazy for me. Bystanders move in to pry them apart while a lifeguard wanders around wanting nothing to do with it all. Eventually they do and it appears that the man who became headbutted twice and punched five times is the victor as he gets up and wanders around while the other man who only got pulled down on top is out for the count.
The main house, four beds, swept all day by the sun and cooling breezes, is called Drifters and the little studio is like a hotel room out there in the back yard, perfect for lovers on a budget or just-divorced daddies fleeing the chaos of their ruined families with a run up north.
“It’s sandy feet, it’s just coming back from the surf, it’s across the road from the beach, it’s the ultimate beach shack,” says Owen’s rock star wife Kita Alexander, mammy to his two kids.
O bought the joint fourteen years ago and the pair navigated the hurdles of Australia’s COVID lockdowns to renovate, turning the ol heritage listed house, dark as hell, sorta place you crack open the cheap Sierra tequila at nine am, to the Instagramable home it is today.
The house and studio, along with the $26 mill build just up the road, is just one piece in the mighty Owen Wright property portfolio, of course.
It hasn’t all been real estate success for O, howevs.
A sour note in Owen’s fairytale life, and apart from the brain damage episode in 2015, was the theft of almost one million bucks of his personal stash by a family friend employed as the fam’s bookkeeper which led to his estrangement from Ma and Pa Wright as well as friction with his siblings and his pop star wife.
Owen said he was “emotionally worn down”, couldn’t sleep, was perpetually pissed off and anxious.
Accusing his parents of ripping him, he said, off had lasting ramifications.
“My relationships…are still damaged because of the anger issues I had around this,” he said.
And, because of the theft, he couldn’t get out of the pro surfing game despite his catastrophic 2015 brain injury, only splitting when he was kneecapped by the mid-year cut.
“I wanted to retire but I couldn‘t financially (due to the impact of the offending) and fought back into my career risking my life in the process… I was still being stolen from while I could barely walk and while the doctors were saying I would never work again in my career. The physical risk I‘ve taken on to keep surfing was a choice I made because I was not financially in the position to stop my career.”