Australia's new surfing world champion Tyler Wright says she was inspired to win the title after her professional surfer brother suffered a serious injury
Photo Source: AAP
Tyler Wright has always called her professional surfer brother Owen her inspiration.
But a serious injury to him last December changed her mindset and put her on the path to world title glory.
Owen was chasing the world title himself when a shocking wipe-out at Pipeline derailed his campaign and left him with bleeding on the brain.
Wright said at the start of the year the injury had motivated her to seriously pursue the world crown for the first time in her five years on the world circuit.
Prodigiously talented, she had come close twice - finishing second in 2014 and 2013 - but admitted she "didn't really care" about the result.
Wright said that the injury to Owen had made her grow up.
"Owen has always been an inspiration to me but the last couple of months have made things so much clearer for me,'' Wright said after winning the opening world tour event of the year on the Gold Coast.
"It made me realise that I want to win a world title and I want to do it my way."
Under new coach, former pro surfer Glenn Hall, the 22-year-old then added a further two titles from the first four events to set herself up for the world title tilt.
With American challenger Courtney Conlogue stumbling in the semi-finals in France, Wright's dream has been realised.
She became the seventh Australian to win the women's world title and the first since six-time champion Stephanie Gilmore's last triumph in 2014.
Wright grew up in Culburra Beach, a sleepy town south of Wollongong, in a surf-mad family.
Three of the five children are professional surfers - Owen, Mikey and Tyler - while there's also Tim and older sister Kirby, who had a brief stint on the circuit.
A popular surfer on tour, Wright counts fellow Australians Gilmore and Nikki Van Dijk, as well as inspirational Hawaiian Bethany Hamilton, a mum who surfs with one arm following a shark attack, as her close friends.
Owen, 26, is yet to return to competitive surfing but is back in the water while 19-year-old Mikey has overcome a serious ankle injury that hampered his results.
Before the injury Owen was asked who the best surfer was in their family and he had no doubt.
"Tyler, she's got it for sure. Physical and mental strength combined with a love for surfing," he said
"It's letting her go places."
Including to the top of the world rankings.