Tyler Wright | I Learned Some Hard Lessons at a Young Age

Tyler Wright | I Learned Some Hard Lessons at a Young Age

(Tyler bashing one right out the front at Merewether) 



I asked Tyler Wright a simple question, when were you happiest? The 29-year-old 2X World Champion didn’t hesitate. “Right now, right here.” 


Wright was talking from the sun trap that is her backyard in Adamstown Heights, Newcastle. Wright shares the house with her wife Lilli. The pair met at the Darby Street coffee shop Lilli managed and married in 2022. 


“It feels so wild, it’s so different from all my life experiences. As pro surfers we have so many options where we could live,” said Wright. “I’m content to be still, where my life has been always on, and always on the road.”


(Tyler & Lilli, Teahuop'o)



Wright will forever call Culburra on the South Coast of NSW her home, but since she started on the professional tour aged 15, she has lived in various spots on the East Coast including the Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Sydney. Yet even with those sometimes-solid bases, Wright lived the intensely nomadic life of an elite pro surfer. She says she could do four months on the road “in the blink of eye”. 



“We knew last year that I would be away a lot. I trained a lot so that could happen, and we prepared for that, but having a settled home has helped,” Wright said. “I’ve realised coming home is always worth it, even if it's for just a few days.”


Ironically, at the time Wright is perhaps truly settled and content in her life, she has been away more than ever. In 2023 she had surfed, and won, more heats since 2017; the year she claimed her second World Title.



(You gotta win it to ring it!)



“I started doing this when I was so young, so I learned some hard lessons at a young age. Since 2017 a lot has happened, with injury and trauma, and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I do and how I want to do it,” Wright said. “I sat down with my wife and my team, and to choose what I value the most and decided to invest in those areas. I’ve worked really, really hard to have a choice in what I do. I’ve chosen to work to a standard that I’ve set myself that’s not influenced by outcomes or others' standards.”


Those standards, set incredibly high, have been achieved as Wright seems to have found the happy balance between competing at the highest level, and maintaining a healthy balance outside what she calls the high-performance space. She said that while she could hyperfocus in the competitive arena when she was younger, it came at a cost. 



(Hyper focus in the green and gold - Up the Irrakunjis!!!)



“I’ve learned you cannot not nurture the rest of your life, it’s too complicated,” she said. “I've worked really hard to find the tools I need, both internal and external, to get to this happy space and have some control.” 


And whether that’s soaking up the sun in her backyard, or going for a surf on her Ocean & Earth Soft Board just for the sheer joy of it, Wright has emerged in 2023 with a clear intention; to train and surf as hard as humanly possible to give herself a chance of a World Title, but to make sure that doesn't get in the way of enjoying her time in the sun.


“Right now, we don’t have to do anything, we don’t have to go anywhere and that is so relaxing,” she finished. “It’s been really interesting to find a place and say, ‘I’m good, I’m settled, and I never expected it. I suppose that’s why I'm so happy.” 









What was your first surfboard?

A second hand 5’5” Byrne surfboard from a neighbour down the street. 


The most scared you’ve been in the ocean.

Teahupo’o. The first time I went I was 18 or 19, and it was 12-15 foot. My brother Owen was paddling and the way that wave moved, breathed and the energy of the place was out of this world. Oh, and it’s a closeout, so there’s that. 


The most expensive thing you’ve bought apart from property?

I bought a car when I was 19. It’s a Ford Ranger Ute and I still have it. I love that car. 


Your most treasured possession.

My passport. It’s probably the thing I look after the most. 


Who would play you in the film of your life?

Not sure who’d be equipped to play the role, but I would have Greta Gerwig direct it. If she can do Barbie, she can do me. 


What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife. 


The time you needed your legrope the most?

Randomly, it was in Rio de Janeiro for a comp in 2016. It was one foot in the morning and 8 to 10 feet by the afternoon. I was in a heat and I was getting pushed so deep by the waves, and there was one set where I just had nothing left in the tank. All I knew was that the surfboard was up, and I was down, and I had to climb up the leash to get some air. If the leash hadn’t handled, I would have been in all sorts of trouble. 



Words by Ben Mondy