Surf Olympian Tyler Wright withdraws from Rio contest.
Surf Olympian Tyler Wright's myriad health issues have long impacted her career.

Fears for Aussie surf Olympian Tyler Wright after sudden withdrawal from Brazil event due to unspecified injury

“Tyler has been advised by her doctors and specialists that she needs treatment.”

The two-time world surfing champ Tyler Wright was a notable scratching from the Viva Oi Rio Pro, currently being played out in abominable conditions in Brazil. 

Thirty-year-old Tyler Wright, who pretty much gave up any hope of making the final five cut with her latest withdrawal, has a long history of illness and injury. 

Four months ago after advancing to the quarter finals in Portugal, Wright spoke of suffering from what was described as a perpetual suffocation. 

“I’ve had a fair few doctors and specialists tell me they don’t know how I do what I do. I found out that most of the time I’m under-oxygenated and semi-suffocating. My airways are too small basically, and over the off-season I had it expanded,” Wright explained. “Honestly it’s been life-changing, it’s the sanest I’ve ever felt. It’s really successful, it’s changing my life, but it’s also a process and that’s only step one and a half of a multi-step process.”

The process included seven screws drilled into her head. 

“So through the off-season I got a maxillary palatal expander [a device that widens the mouth] in. Essentially I’ve got seven screws in my head, between nine and 17 millimetres [in length] and in the off-season I expanded it. Essentially it popped the bone and I got seven millimetres [added airway space] through that.”

In 2018, Tyler and her brother Owen, then the world number eleven, quietly pulled out of their respective events at Jeffreys Bay.

Both cited a mysterious “African flu”. 

“Never thought the flu would stop me from competing….turns out I was very wrong.,” Tyler wrote on Instagram. “Influenza A is quite the catch, it wouldn’t leave me alone. Been out of it for a while now but had my first good day in about two weeks, still can’t do much and I’m about 8kg lighter.”

Last year, Wright unleashed on the “drastic and extreme circumstances” she was raised in” from the Wright’s patriarch Rob, the old boy now on the ropes, suffering from dementia and being cared for by her big brother Owen. 

“I experienced that and I worked with a psychologist for years to understand my relationship with surfing and understand how that was born, how it was really unhealthy for me,” Wright told Dave Prodan on his usually milquetoast podcast The Lineup. “I’m rebuilding a relationship with surfing because of the drastic and extreme circumstances that I was raised in…Look, this is not uncommon. Which is baffling for someone like me. If this is not uncommon, why don’t we have better solutions, better parenting programs, better informed industry? I’m not the first child this has happened to. I’m not the first child star this has happened to.”

That same year, her performance at the Surf Ranch event was diminished after a “horrible period” put her in hospital for three days prior to the event. 

“At times it’s deflating physically and emotionally, feeling like you have no say in it. Managing my period has been a journey. I’ve come along way from my teen years, not even knowing it wasn’t normal to suffer monthly excruciating pain that would lead to passing out, vomiting and hours on the toilet. These days my period management looks like a customised training program based around the 4 menstrual stages, listening and planning carefully for what my body needs – even if that means less time practicing in the water before comps, prioritising sleep and recovery leading up to my period and being aware this is the time I am at highest risk of injury.”

Wright, who won her first big event at fourteen and two consecutive world titles at twenty-two and twenty-three, has also revealed the struggle of being gay on the surf circuit,

“I’m the only queer person on tour, so my wife is the only other queer person I know most of the time. I love everyone around me but she makes such a difference in a way only she really can.”

According to a spokesperson for Tyler Wright, the latest scratching comes at the advice of medical professionals.

“Tyler has been advised by her doctors and specialists that she needs some treatment and would prefer her sitting out Brazil. Tyler will be 100% ready for the Olympics.”

Still, Surfing Australia has readied evergreen Sally Fitzgibbons to be on standby should Wright’s medical woes continue and, in the men, Ryan Callinan if either Ethan Ewing or Jack Robinson get belted and can’t compete.

“We have Sally Fitzgibbons and Ryan Callinan on standby with a fully flexible flight booked to arrive 24 hours prior to the event window,” Surfing Australia’s performance support and podium manager Eric Haakonssen told The Guardian. “If the event looks likely to start later in the window, we will adjust those flights to depart later just in case.”

Colin Jost (pictured) ready to surf talk.
Colin Jost (pictured) ready to surf talk.

Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost announced as voice of Olympic surfing sending surf fans into peels of giddy laughter

Scarlett Johansson maybe too!

Left field is a vast area that exists beyond third base on a baseball field. It is also where unexpected and weird things arise. Enter Colin Jost. The Saturday Night Live alum, and husband of blonde bombshell Scarlett Johansson was, minutes ago, announced as the voice of Olympic surfing.

Per The Hollywood Reporter:

Instead, the Saturday Night Live regular will be traveling to Tahiti to cover the surfing competition. The Pacific island is part of French Polynesia and will play host to the second ever surfing event at an Olympics (the sport made its debut at the Tokyo games in 2021).

While Jost, who’s a surfer in his own right, will be on the ground to interview athletes and preview the waves, the rest of NBCU’s surfing commentary team — play-by-play announcer Joe Turpel and analyst Michael Parsons — will call the action remotely from NBC Sports’ broadcast center in Stamford, Connecticut.

Is Michael Parsons the same person as Snips?

Like, the Snips?

No time for that now. Jost is much loved for his dry humor as part of the Weekend Update team alongside Michael Che.

I don’t have much more to say, at this time, as your hot takes are required immediately.

Except for the fact that Jost and Johansson get to promenade in Tahiti while Turpel and Snips (?) bunk down in Stamford, Connecticut’s finest Holiday Inn.

More as the story develops.

Emilia and Tamayo Perry. Photo: GMA
Emilia and Tamayo Perry. Photo: GMA

Widow of Tamayo Perry speaks publicly for first time since shark attack took surf legend husband

"Love everybody when you have them because you never know when they're going to be taken away."

The death of surf legend Tamayo Perry still feels a surreal shock. The surfer, lifeguard, actor, 49, was surfing near Goat Island in Kahuku where he was attacked by what is believed to be a tiger shark. Perry was born and raised on the east side of Oahu and was known for a beautifully fearless style, “combining the tube traits of Gerry Lopez and Tom Carroll,” according to surf historian Matt Warshaw.

Perry was a devout Christian and married to his wife, Emilia, for 25 years. Hours ago she sat down on Good Morning America to speak publicly for the first time alongside friend and Perry’s fellow lifeguard Jesse King.

She says she has a certain peace, knowing that he is in a better place, but for her, “It was like I went on the best 25 year vacation of my life and now it’s over, now I’ve got to come back to reality.”

King, added that the screw foot regularly paddled out where he was attacked and knew the area like the back of his hand. “There was nothing out of the ordinary that would indicate something bad would happen to him instead of someone else. It was a regular day.”

At the end, Emilia Perry says that Tamayo’s legacy is clear. “How to be a better human. Love everybody when you have them because you never know when they’re going to be taken away.”

Her voice cracking at the end in pure heartbreak.

Open thread: Comment live, day one, Vivo Rio Pro!

"Because You're Smart And Cruel. But, Not Really."

Cindy Crawford in Sumba.
The great Cindy Crawford, posing for surf photo vet Jason Childs on the island of Sumba, home to the world's most hotly policed, and expensive to surf, lefthander!

Supermodel Cindy Crawford stuns with photo shoot at world’s most exclusive surf resort!

And surfs world's most hotly policed and expensive to surf lefthander!

The last time eighties supermodel Cindy Crawford appeared on these pages it was as a surf pupil for the Tahitian heartthrob and Surf Ranch king Raimana Van Bastolaer, whom she subsequently described as “human viagra”.

“He’s the Big Blue Pill,” wrote Cindy Crawford. “ He can get anyone up! Even me!”

An icon of the fashion world, Cindy Crawford became one of the most recognizable faces in fashion, known for her trademark beauty mark above her lip. Her career peaked in 1987 when she appeared alongside the other OG supermods Christy Turlington, Linda Evangalista and Naomi Campbell on British Vogue.

Now, as if to cement those surf bona fides first established under Raimana’s powerful hands in Lemoore, Cindy Crawford has appeared in a photo shoot at the glamorous resort that fronts and owns the rights to Occy’s Left on the Indonesia island of Sumba.

And, not only is she enjoying the hotly policed left, Cindy Crawford even allowed surf photo legend Jason Childs to grab a couple of snaps as she posed in front of a pack of Sumba’s famous wild horses.


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A post shared by Cindy Crawford (@cindycrawford)

Do you remember when Nihi, formerly Nihiwatu, was voted the best hotel in the world?

For twelve thousand dollars a night, you can rent a five-bedroom estate while a “starter villa” is $US1500 a night.

If you want to actually surf the left out the front, you have to peel off around $US150 per surf, which includes local and resort taxes, with a maximum of “one surf slot per villa” and a total complement in the lineup of twelve surfers.

Claude and Petra Graves set up Nihiwatu in 2000 before selling to American entrepreneur Chris Burch and South African hotelier James McBride in 2012.

After renovations last spring, Nihiwatu was visited by Travel + Leisure magazine‘s Peter Jon Lindberg, who wrote:

“I spent my week in Sumba in a state of suspended bliss, orbiting among infinity pools, natural mud baths, waterfall-fed swimming holes, glowing valleys full of rice paddies, misty mountaintop villages straight out of Tolkien, and a beach that looked as if it were airbrushed on the side of a van.
“That beach is spectacular, with or without the left-hand break, and one can easily see why the Graveses pitched their tent here. It can’t have changed much in the 27 years since: every morning I’d walk the mile and a half to the end, and every morning mine were the only footprints.

“Nihiwatu’s redesign—by the Bali firm Habitat 5—finds a winning balance between refined and raw. Guest villas allude to traditional Sumbanese homes, with steeply pitched thatched roofs and massive kasambi tree trunks for support columns. Sumbanese ikat tapestries and black-and-white photos of local villagers hang on ocher stone walls. Wide-angle windows overlook lush gardens and the sea beyond.

“Local touches show up everywhere: bathroom sinks are hewn from slabs of roughly carved stone; wardrobes are fashioned from coconut wood. The space is natural where you want it to be, sleek where you need it—as in the seamless glide of sliding glass doors; the light switches that glow in the unfamiliar dark; or the straw paddle fan that swirls inside, not outside, your monumental canopy bed. Most striking of the new villas: the Kanatar Sumba Houses, where an outdoor shower is magically cantilevered off the second floor. All the other outdoor showers went home and cried.

“Ninety-eight percent of the staff are from Sumba. Like most guests, I was assigned a butler, a jovial Sumbanese man named Simson, who arrived at 7 a.m. every morning bearing breakfast—papaya, rambutan, watermelon juice, house-made yogurt, Sumba coffee. (The foodhere is terrific, highlighting the bright, fresh flavors you crave in the tropics.) One morning Simson was limping because a scorpion had bitten him on the toe back home. ‘I didn’t check before putting on my sandals!’ he said, as if it were his fault, not the scorpion’s. He quickly added that one seldom encounters them at Nihiwatu.

“Of course there’s an inevitable dissonance between Sumba’s privation and Nihiwatu’s privilege, between a subsistence-level economy and a butler-staffed resort. Perhaps that’s why so many guests are compelled to support the foundation and, not least, to visit Sumbanese villages. To do so is to realize how unique— and symbiotic—the relationship is between Nihiwatu and the island it calls home.”

Did you, like me, laugh a little at the reference to the butler? “…a jovial Sumbanese man named Simson… one morning Simson was limping because a scorpion had bitten him on the toe back home.”

Oh, poor Simson, the damn native, paid to be jovial, even when he’s seized with poison!

Six years ago, quasi-Kardashian Brody Jenner rented the entire joint out for a traditional heterosexual wedding, since dissolved, to Kaitlynn Carter.