Since withdrawing from the Corona J-Bay Open at the last minute back in July, back-to-back world champion Tyler Wright has yet to return to competition. Her absence from the Surf Ranch Pro and recent announcement that she will not be competing in the Beachwaver Maui Pro have left competitive surf fans wondering about the seriousness of the illness she’s alluded to over past few months on social media.

In an interview with Wright that the WSL posted today, she explains that she contracted Influenza A in South Africa while training for the Corona J-Bay Open. “I first started feeling ill when I went on an overnight safari,” Wright explained. “My head was on fire and so was my body. I’d never felt like that before and I actually called Mikey [Tyler’s Brother] who said he thought I needed to go to the doctor. I didn’t want to believe him so I called Jessi [WSL Deputy Commissioner] and told her how I felt and she was like, ‘please drive to the hospital’. Mikey got the medical team organized and then we went from there. I had to go to Port Elizabeth where I was admitted through Emergency.”

Wright continued. “The official diagnosis in J-Bay at the hospital was Influenza A. I spent time in the hospital and then came back to J-Bay where I was treated and I stayed close to the medical team. I couldn’t travel until my fever broke for 48 hours and I stayed in bed for probably ten days. AIl up I lost 8 kg 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.”

The Influenza A progressed into Post-Viral Syndrome, which has plagued her with chronic fatigue since. “My body aches, and my brain hurts- I’m really not much fun to be around!” Wright wrote on her Instagram today. The pains have not only caused her to miss contests, but free surfs too.

“There’s no clear timeline for recovery but I’m doing what I can to get back to full physical and mental health,” Wright also wrote on her Instagram. She’s planning on applying for the WSL 2019 season’s injury wildcard. Wright told the WSL that she’ll be rooting for Stephanie Gilmore to win her seventh world title during the Beachwaver Maui Pro and that she’s also proud of title contender Lakey Peterson for “stepping up” this year.

SURFER wishes Wright all the best and hopes to see her shredding on the tour next year. To read Wright’s full interview with the WSL, click here.