Owen Wright is back in business. The tall Australian defeated Matt Wilkinson in the finals of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 14.66 to 13.50, thus completing his miraculous return to form. “I couldn’t have done it without all the support of my friends, family, partner and my little baby boy,” Wright told the media following the win.
The former—and once again—title contender will be wearing the yellow jersey as the World Number One at the next stop at the Margaret River in Western Australia.
Wright, 27, hadn’t surfed competitively since December 2015, when he was unfortunately injured warming up for the Pipe Masters in Hawaii, where he sustained a TBI, and suffered concussion-like symptoms for more than a year.
After being cleared earlier this year by his doctor and WSL physicians, Owen got his feet wet at the QS in Newcastle in February, and then subsequently accepted a WSL wildcard spot to the 2017 CT. So roughly 15 months after suffering a life-threatening injury, with questions if Owen would ever regain his former surf form, the lanky Australian stands on top of the world.
“I think it was the start of February—I was sitting in the doctor’s office and there were question marks on the year,” Wright told local news after the victory. “So to be sitting here right now, we just pushed hard and went hard and confronted every fear of getting back into it. There were a lot of questions of getting back into the sport and back into pretty much what took me out and could have taken me out forever. I just kept going and kept doing it.”
After seasons of professional racing with no Supercross victories, Rockstar-Husqvarna-Dragon rider Zach Osborne now has three. The young 250 East SX rider won the Indianapolis stop in decisive fashion. Passing points-rival Joey Savatgy and never looking back, Zach not only won his third race of the season, but increased his razor thin point margin over the Monster-Kawasaki racer.
With four races left, every point is valuable and Zach increased his lead over Savatgy to 9 points. Osborne has to keep his hand on the throttle as one bad race can wipe out the lead he’s built up. Heading indoors again as the circuit moves to Detroit, Zach looks to St. Louis on April Fools Day, where he’ll get a three week break before racing again in New Jersey.
Fellow Rockstar-Husky-Dragon rider Jason Anderson unfortunately couldn’t overcome a bad start in the 450 main event, and ultimately finished 9th. He still sits firmly entrenched in 5th in the points race, over former Rockstar rider Davi Millsaps. Jason looks to forget about Indy and turn to a new page in Detroit.
What Youth recently introduced this year’s Top 34 list… the company’s list of the top 34 surfers in the world. And our very own Luke Hynd rolled in at #20. From What Youth:
“Luke is a nice quiet young Australian who looks so at home on a board. As you saw in Everything’s Wrong But in the Right Place: he’s not scared of the big stuff and he’s got a technical air game. Right under the radar, but probably not for that much longer.”
Help us give a hearty round of applause for Luke and here’s to watching him grow his surfing career for many, many years to come.
The What Youth philosophy on how they pick The Top 34:
“The perfectly inexact science that sees the surfers who represent themselves the most authentically through their surfing and living at the top. Their creativity rewarded. Their flaws embraced. Their zest and style counting exponentially. There are no numbers, it’s all feeling. Like music. Or poetry. Subjective. Like surfing should be.”
Freeskier Jossi Wells is icon in the sport of skiing, but what happens when he steps out of his comfort zone and teams up with the famous Flying Frenchies? Universal took an in-depth look into Jossi, the Flying Frenchies and the nature of what it takes to beat down fear and live a free life.
With the competitive surf season getting underway, Dragon surfer Evan Geiselman took the win at the Ron Jon Vans Pro in Cocoa Beach, FL. A native of Florida, Evan felt at home, but regardless, the win at the QS event felt good. “I just tried to stay patient and think I just got lucky,” Geiselman told local news about the final. “Winning this event was a great confidence boost for me. I learned a lot from last year, got a few wins and ended up 19th on the QS. So my goal is to just keep doing better.”
Evan looks to finish higher on the QS (after a 19th place finish in 2016) and qualify for the CT, and the Ron Jon Pro is a step in the right direction. The attention now turns to Australia and Snapper Rocks for the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro, the first CT of the 2017 season, where Mick Fanning, Owen Wright and Ace Buchan look for an early season performance.
After a disappointing race in Toronto due to a mechanical issue in the main event, Jason Anderson is back on the box, taking 3rd place in the 450SX main in Daytona. The NM-native has been quietly consistent all year, and would be in a very competitive point standing, if not for last week’s mechanical and a DQ earlier in the 2017 season.
“It’s cool to be back up here but at the same time I need to put myself in better situations,” explained Jason in the post-race press conference. But with his 2nd podium of the season, Jason is firmly entrenched in 5th place in points (despite the aforementioned bad races).
Rockstar-Husky-Dragon 250 East rider Zach Osborne has been on a tear the last few weeks, finishing 5th in Daytona. He still sits in 1st overall, with 5 races left on the East Coast schedule.
Our friends at WSL caught up with legendary surfer and 3x World Champion Mick Fanning on his return to the Championship Tour full-time after taking a break from the 2016 season.
“2015 was a tough year,” Fanning told WSL. “A lot happened to me on camera and in my personal life. I just felt exhausted by the end of it. Fortunately, I was in a position to step away from the Tour and have some time to myself. I ended up doing a few events and qualifying which was great because I didn’t want to take the wildcard off of Bede [Durbidge] or Owen [Wright]. I’m coming into 2017 seeded 18th which will be a change for me.”
Zach Osborne went from having no career wins to earning his 2nd in consecutive weeks on the 250 East Supercross circuit. The young rider will carry his momentum to Daytona for the 4th race of the East Coast circuit and 10th overall this year.
“Mainly confidence,” Osborne says of why he’s been successful. “The past two years have been big confidence builders for me, and this weekend was a big step. It took me a long to get where I’m at… I’m just taking it day to day and carry the momentum I’ve built the last few weeks and do my own thing.”
As the circuit moves to Florida, Zach takes a 12 point lead over Joey Savatgy, while 450 SX rider Jason Anderson remains in 5th overall, despite finishing poorly due to a mechanical issue early on in the race.
Under the lights of Atlanta, at the last Supercross race the Georgia Dome will see, 250-class rider Zach Osborne finally got his first win. With 45+ professional SX races under his belt, the young 250 rider not only got his first career win, but took over the points lead in the East race as the circuit shifts north to Toronto.
“Yeah, it’s pretty unreal,” Osborne told RacerX. “It’s amazing to come here. I won the KJSC here in 1998. It’s been a dream of mine ever since to win this race, and for it to be the last race in Georgia Dome … I could go on for an hour but it’s unreal. I’m grateful to be in this position to have this opportunity and just be where I’m at. It’s unreal.”
After two races in the East Championship, Zach takes over the points lead, two points ahead of Joey Savatgy. And at the official halfway point in the season, 450 rider Jason Anderson finished 4th (once again) and retains his 5th place points standing, but gets a ton of breathing from between him and the rest of the pack.
Next stop, Toronto where the Rockstar-Husqvarna-Dragon team seeks more podiums and points.
Young guns Griffin Colapinto and Seth Moniz have spent quite a bit of time down in Hawaii the past couple of months, including competing at the Volcom Pipe Pro where Griffin took 3rd and Seth was recognized with the Todd Chesser Hard Charger award. Here’s what the duo got up to in their time in the tropical destination.