After a spectacular performance at Pipeline earlier this season, Wright left the beach a bit shaken up, and was later hospitalized for head trauma. Unfortunately, its been a slow recovery for the Australian charger. Photo: Noyle

fter a spectacular performance at Pipeline earlier this season, Wright left the beach a bit shaken up, and was later hospitalized for head trauma. Unfortunately, its been a slow recovery for the Australian charger. Photo: Noyle

This morning, Owen Wright withdrew from the first half of the 2016 World Tour season, according to a WSL press release. One of last year’s standout performers, Wright made history in 2015 by surfing his way to two perfect heats in pumping Fijian tubes. Adam Melling will reportedly take Wright’s place in the Top 34.

“It’s disappointing to have to withdraw from the opening events of the year, but the important thing is to ensure that I am 100% healthy for when I return to that level of competition,” Wright said in the press release. “I’ve been working regularly with top specialists in the country and they’ve given me a lengthy rehabilitation time before I’m able to feel normal again and a period of time after that before they’re confident I can perform at the elite level without additional risk. Head injuries are tricky in terms of mapping out recovery time and it’s possible that I may not be able to pull the jersey on all year. I want to thank my family, friends, fans, sponsors and the WSL for their ongoing support.”

The head injury that sidelined Wright occurred in early December on the North Shore, when a particularly heavy set drilled him during a freesurf session. Feeling dazed hours after the session, Wright was taken to the hospital by medical personnel, where he was treated for head trauma. He was forced to withdraw from the Billabong Pipeline Masters and bow out of the World Title race.

“[It’s] very sad to see someone of Owen’s caliber suffer such serious injury,” said Kieren Perrow, the WSL’s Commissioner. “The important thing is that he’s on the road to recovery and taking the appropriate time to ensure that he is 100% before returning to competition. While it’s unfortunate news for the sport and its fans, we’re fully supportive of Owen taking the time he needs and wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

Owen's name as the top performer at Pipe this winter, and for clear reasons. Photo: Chachi

Wright had a few heroic sessions in some of the most daunting Pipe conditions of the season before getting sidelined by his head injury. Photo: Chachi