Australian Tyler Wright has won her first world surfing title at the Roxy Pro France, fulfilling a promise to her late uncle.
The 22-year-old claimed her victory at Hossegar in France after American rival Courtney Conlogue was toppled in the semi-finals yesterday.
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Although Wright lost to three-time world champion Carissa Moore in the final, the overall World Championship was hers.
“There’s a lot that’s gone into this, a lot of hours. A lot of fun,” said Wright, who won four events this year.
Reports say it was an emotional scene, as it marked the end of a difficult 12 months for the surfer.
Her older brother Owen, who is also a professional surfer, has been going through a very public recovery from a serious brain injury he suffered while competing.
Lesser known was that Wright was also dealing with another personal battle – the death of her uncle.
“There’s a lot of reasons why I set out to win this world title this year, a lot of reasons I didn’t mention to the public,” Wright said.
“Last year was such a hectic year, even this year … I lost an uncle and this was his last event that he ever saw me compete in. A lot of emotional moments but pretty much from that moment, I promised him I’d win a world title. And I did.
“And from that point, so many things happened this year. (My family) I just love them so much.”
Although the 22 year old had a commanding lead into the second last event of the season, her victory wasn’t confirmed until the final seconds of the second semi-final when Conlogue’s scores were read out.
Six-time champion Stephanie Gilmore was on hand to give the champ a huge hug to kick off celebrations.