Tyler Wright finished her first season on the ASP Women's World Tour with a bang, coming fourth overall and landing the much-coveted Rookie of the Year award. We caught up with the young Aussie charger for a chat
Interview by Sam Haddad
Hey Tyler, Congrats on winning ASP Rookie of the Year. Was it a surprise or part of your first year game plan all along?
Rookie of the year was definitely a goal. Especially seeing Owen [her brother, who is also a pro surfer] win it the year before. It was part of my game plan, but not something I was focussing on.
What did you enjoy most about your first year on the tour?
I most enjoyed the Snapper Rocks event and also being able to surf for a World Title. Also, being on tour now means you don’t have to be someone’s plus-one. You can have your own plus-one haha. It was liberating to have that.
And what did you like the least?
There weren’t too many things. Nothing got on my nerves too much. Maybe the waves could have been a little better in places, but it’s not a big deal.
It seems like you girls have a lot of fun on the tour, who do you most like hanging out with?
I hang out with Sal (Fitzgibbons) a lot. She’s one of my best friends. We always hang out. All the girls are pretty cool.
Which other surfers most impressed you?
On tour, Carissa stepped up massively. She obviously won the World Title and made six out of seven finals, so she’d be the most obvious choice. Off tour, Lakey Peterson impressed me most. I’ve surfed a few heats with her in America and you can tell she really works on her heat strategy. I think she’s really improved. She’ll be on tour soon.
I've read that Steph Gilmore is a hero of yours, what did you make of her season and how do you think she'll get on next year?
Understandably, I think she was slightly rattled at the start of the year due to certain events that occurred before the tour started [Steph was attacked at her home earlier in the year]. This year was probably a hard year for her, especially with Carissa and Sal stepping it up from the very start. You could see she kept coming back as the year went on, especially in France [where Steph won the Roxy Pro]. It wasn’t her best year, but she’s still one of the smartest surfers on tour and will continue to shine.
You were quoted as saying the tour is at a"turning point and that it's no longer going to be about floaters and cutbacks. In the next five years, it’s possibly going to be about finners and airs." How has this amazing progression come about and what can you add to the mix?
I think all us young girls watching videos of the guys. We see people like Dane, Owen, Kolohe, Julian and Jordy busting huge airs and turns and I think that makes us excited to try similar things. Steph was the first girl to perfect a guy’s turn and from there it’s a bit more progression.
How do you train for surfing, do you just surf or do any exercise on land?
I do both. I spend time trying to strengthen the muscles I need for surfing by doing things like CHEK training.
If our readers want to start pulling some nice airs, which tricks are the best to start with?
I think you need to learn how to do a finner first and from there you move on to small, straight airs where you can do different grabs.
And what other advice on how to be a good surfer do you have?
Just surf. Practice can make perfect. Grab friends and just do it. It doesn’t matter if the surf is good or not. Often you can have your best surfs when you’re with your friends.
Were you disappointed the season was cut short this year?
Kinda. That said, I haven’t had a seven-month break for a long time, so I’m excited for that. I would’ve liked to have a Hawaiian leg so we could get some big, good waves though.
What are your plans for the off season?
I’m looking forward to going to the snow. That’s number one on my list. I may do Bali also. I have plenty of time.
Which stops would you like to see added to next year's tour?
Trestles would be great for girls. It’d be great for girls to showcase what they can really do. Keramas in Bali would be awesome too.
Do you prefer competing at girl only events or mixed ones?
I don’t mind. I think competing with the guys is cool. The Gold Coast is great as you get to see them surf also.
Do you get a lot of advice from your brother Owen? And if so what kind of stuff does he say?
I do. He doesn’t always have to say it either. I can pick up a lot just by watching him. Often, when there are a few things he knows I need, he’ll offer me a few tips on how I can improve. He’s a good older brother.
What else are you into besides surfing?
Snowboarding of course. I like reading too. I think it increases your vocab. I like hanging at home with my family also.