Pic: Rip Curl

What’s been going on with Tyler Wright?

In July, double world champ Tyler Wright pulled out of Jeffrey’s Bay. She hasn’t competed in an event in the entire back half of 2018. In her own words, here’s what’s been happening.

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“I actually got sick in July, during the Jeffrey’s Bay event. I had gone to Africa early to go surfing and prepare. I love JBay and had gone the year before just to surf, plus I thought I could get some waves in before the whole crew arrived. I was happy to get a fews surf in. Then I first started feeling ill when I went on an overnight safari. My head was on fire and so was my body. I’d never felt like that before and I actually called my brother Mikey who said he thought I needed to go to the doctor. I didn’t want to believe him, so I called WSL Commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer and told her how I felt. She told me to please drive to the hospital. Mikey got the medical team organised and then we went from there; I had to go to Port Elizabeth where I was admitted through Emergency.

The official diagnosis in the hospital at JBay was Influenza A. I spent time in hospital, and then came back to JBay where I was treated by the medical team. I couldn’t travel until my fever broke, and I stayed in bed for probably ten days straight. All-up I lost 8kgs, and at one stage we thought I had pneumonia as well. I don’t reckon I ate for a week. It’s the sickest I have ever been in my life.

Pic: Rip Curl

So now, I haven’t been able to shake it and I have been diagnosed with post-viral syndrome from getting Influenza A. I am pretty much battling chronic fatigue, which is a real challenge. People think it’s just about being tired but there is more to it – although that does have a lot to do with it.

I actually was going to try and surf in the Surf Ranch Pro in California. I thought that of all the events on the calendar that was the one that I could manage myself the best at, with the set schedule, set number of waves etc. I even flew to California for it – that’s how convinced I was. I came early with the idea that I would go and see Mark Kozuki, because he has always fixed me, and then I’d go up to Lemoore for the training days pre-event. I went and saw Kozuki the day I landed, and then I literally changed my flight for the next day and flew home. I spent one night in California.”

The next steps:
“I’ve been seeing a bunch of different doctors, including a specialist in Sydney. It’s hard because chronic fatigue is so difficult to treat. I’ve been resting a lot, eating right, taking herbs and reading Harry Potter, which is my new favourite thing. And I try and go for a small swim every day – that’s a highlight for me.

Now that I have spent so much time out of the water and because I can’t surf in Maui, I have to ask for the 2019 wildcard. So hopefully the WSL decides that I am a good candidate, and I’m back next year.

It’s been interesting to watch the Tour from here, when I feel good and I can. I’ve never been out of events… I’ve been injured before, but I’ve never actually taken time off. This is new for me, to actually be sick and realise that I can’t just push through it. Last year I had no business surfing on my knee, but I decided that I would and so I did. It’s different this time.

In terms of the Title race I’ve always looked up to Steph, so I’m cheering for her and I hope that she wins. Lakey has had a great year though and I’m proud of her for stepping up.”

Interview thanks to the World Surf League and Rip Curl.

Surfing World