By: Kendall McAlister
Owen Wright’s surfing win against Gabriel Medina
With this year’s Tahiti Pro, most people found themselves on the edge of their seats as they watched pro surfers Owen Wright and Gabriel Medina face off in the final round. As these two both surfed incredible waves that most people would have the instinct to run away from, the competition only got more fierce.
Australian Owen Wright, the 29 year old champ, surfed bravely with a white helmet on, after suffering from a serious head injury in 2015.
As Owen says, “Definitely when the waves get this size, I take all the precautionary measures. Having that helmet option, it just really quietened it down enough for me to just go and see these huge waves coming through and going ‘I’m going, I’ve got a helmet on, I can do it’. It just allowed me to go harder. For me it was a real blessing.”
Despite his accident surfing Pipeline years ago, Wright still continues surfing and gaining world titles. He even managed to score a perfect 10 on his first wave this year, leading him into the finals where he took down Medina.
The competition was close, and Medina is infamously known for finding the perfect spot to drop in on each wave, despite not having the right of way and cutting off the other surfers. Owen Wright stole this tactic and took waves away from Gabriel Medina this year, while landing close to perfect scores each time.
Surf reporters and viewers all thought Medina had it in the bag. But when it came down to it, the judges wanted to see a performance.
Finding the wave is only part of the competition, and with the waves decreasing with each hour that passed by, riding the wave was barely a factor in the judging. Wright gave the people something they weren’t expecting to see. Anyone could tell how in-sync he was with the water and how beautiful he made each movement.
During the awards, Medina explained how happy he was for Wright and how he knew from the start of the day he was going to have a tough time beating out Owen. He was grateful that he got that far, and through tears, he thanked God for being able to compete against one of his best friends.
As Wright was handed his multi-colored surfboard, he said, “The waves were nearly perfect, and to share that with a great mate, that was really special.”
His girlfriend met him on the boat where the awards were being given out and gave him a big hug. The Wright family celebrated together and were very excited that he won representing the Wright name, along with his country.
This wasn’t the first time the two have faced off, and last year, they knew the day would come again. This was the rematch they had been waiting for, and it was very worthwhile. Medina is going to keep training, and next year, maybe they’ll be able to face off for a third time.