Since two-time World Champion Tyler Wright pulled out of the J-Bay event last year, citing a nasty bout with Influenza A, surf fans around the world (and surely Tyler herself) couldn’t have imagined that would mean she’d have to spend a year without putting on a jersey. But, as Tyler told the WSL yesterday, that is unfortunately the case, as she’s withdrawn from the first half of the 2019 World Tour season.

“The initial bout with influenza A was terrible and returning home, some symptoms improved and others got considerably worse,” Tyler explained. “My doctors diagnosed Post-Viral Syndrome which has really sent me on a rollercoaster. Essentially, you’re symptomatic almost always with light and sound sensitivity, headaches and brain fog. Stressful situations and little tasks become extremely difficult without your body working normally too.”

When asked about her recovery process, Wright said that although she’s been able to paddle out on “foamy or fun boards,” the level of fatigue she feels only allows her to surf for about 20 minutes at a time, and it “costs [her] quite a bit.”

“It’s completely unnerving because with my day/recovery, the smaller I go the better, which is the opposite of fighting through like I’ve usually done,” says Wright. “It wigs me out, so a lot of time goes to unlearning what I’ve done throughout my career so far. I do meditation twice a day and that helps, routine helps a lot too but it’s nothing wild. I feel like I am making progress though so I’m happy about that.

According to Wright, the soonest she believes she could get back to surfing heats would be for the J-Bay event, roughly a year since her health issues began. “That said, we’ll see how the recovery continues to go and make another assessment the closer we get,” she says.