Tyler Wright wins first World title
13 October 2016
Australian Tyler Wright has won her maiden world surfing title sparking emotional scenes on the beach at Hossegor in France.
The 22-year-old claimed the title when her only rival, America's Courtney Conlogue, was toppled in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
Australian surfer lost the Roxy Pro France final to American Carissa Moore but won the overall World Championship.
Wright, who took out Tatiana Weston-Webb in her semi-final, would go on to lose to Conlogue's conquerer, three-time world champ Carissa Moore, in the final.
But it didn't matter, as did so as the world champion.
"There's a lot that's gone into this, a lot of hours. A lot of fun," said Wright, who won four events this year.
"I'm surprised I'm not coming, but it'll come."
The breakthrough victory caps a difficult 12 months for Wright, whose brother Owen has endured a very public recovery from a serious brain injury suffered while competing.
Less well known has been her private battles dealing with the death of her uncle, who she promised a world title to.
"There's a lot of reasons why I set out to win this world title this year, a lot of reasons I didn't mention to the public," Wright said.
"Last year was such a hectic year, even this year ... I lost an uncle and this was his last event that he ever saw me compete in.
"A lot of emotional moments but pretty much from that moment, I promised him I'd win a world title. And I did.
"And from that point, so many things happened this year. (My family) I just love them so much."
Wright, who has won the past two titles at the Landes break, held a commanding lead heading into the season's penultimate event but, despite reaching the final early on Wednesday, had to hold onto her victory dance until the final seconds of the second semi-final.
As she walked down the beach, and Conlogue's final wave scores were read out over the loudspeaker, it became clear that the 24-year-old hadn't done enough to reel in fellow American Carissa Moore.
It prompted Australia's six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore to give the new champion a huge before Wright broke away to raise her arms in triumph.