Owen Wright has made an emotional farewell to the World Surf League tour, shifting into retirement after his exit at Bells Seaside.
It was a altering of the guard on the well-known surf break, with Australian rising star Ethan Ewing eliminating veteran Wright of their spherical of 32 assembly on Sunday.
Wright introduced earlier than the competitors that after 12 years on tour Bells can be his final, pressured into retirement after medical recommendation that one other huge head knock might trigger main injury.
The 33-year-old suffered a traumatic mind damage in a wipe-out in Hawaii in 2015 however fought his manner again to win Olympic bronze in Tokyo, whereas he additionally claimed 4 competitors titles alongside the journey.
He was granted a wildcard into the Rip Curl Professional at Bells, which he first contested again in 2010 however has by no means received.
Wright led their warmth till world No 10-ranked Ewing, whose mom Helen Lambert received Bells in 1983, pulled out one of many waves of the day.
His rating of 8.00 gave him a mixed complete of 13.83 whereas Wright’s tally was 11.66.
Flanked by followers, Wright was chaired up the seaside by two mates to be greeted by his spouse, singer Kita Alexander and their two younger kids.
“It was a extremely particular time on the market and I had a good time in my warmth,” Wright stated. “It appears like dwelling to me down right here … I couldn’t consider a greater strategy to end this chapter.
“I’ve had a wild profession and I’m extraordinarily grateful for it – the powerful occasions and the celebrations, the journey, to complete it right here strolling up the steps and high-fiving my buddies – I’m tremendous grateful for this second.”
Ewing, 24, paid tribute to Wright, who bagged two excellent 10-point rides to win the ultimate within the 2015 Fiji Professional at Cloudbreak.
“It was actually particular – he’s had a fantastic profession,” Ewing stated of the NSW veteran. “We’ve had numerous heats collectively on tour – my first warmth on tour he smashed me.
“It’s actually particular to have this final warmth with him and I want him a very good retirement.”
Wright stated he deliberate to spend the subsequent few days watching the lads’s competitors unfold, whereas his sister, two-time world champion and 2022 Bells winner Tyler, stays alive within the girls’s occasion.
He hoped to proceed to make use of his platform to advertise consciousness about mind damage and concussion in athletes.