Roxy Pro France

Year of a Champ: How Tyler Wright Came Out on Top

Anna Dimond

Tyler Wright made no secret of wanting to win the Championship this year, but that doesn't make her World Title win Wednesday at the Roxy Pro France any less incredible. As soon as she put her mind to it, she made it happen -- within one year -- within one season -- which is even more impressive.

Wright returns home to Australia after winning her first World Title. Tyler came home to a hero's welcome in Australia, surrounded by family and friends. - WSL

"I always knew I would win a World Title," she said at the Sydney press conference in her honor. "It was just a matter of deciding I was ready to do it. I've grown up a lot in the last year, and because of that I decided that it was time to put my mind to it, to really throw everything into it."

But for anyone who was watching the women's CT contests this time last year, it was clear that Wright's journey to the Title began well before the 2016 season began. Below are the key moments that got her there.

1. Tyler's Mindset

Tyler's Title campaign technically kicked off with her March win on the Goldy, but her interior journey started much earlier. She started opening up about her evolving mindset last fall.

Tyler's Turning Point
While Wright has always been a top surfer on tour, toward the end of last season her psychological evolution from competitor to contender began to show.

As she hacked and lip-smacked her way to a win at the Roxy Pro France she said, "I finally realized the difference between someone that doesn't care and someone that cares. And I care."

2. Getting the Ball Rolling

Tyler's Season Opener
From Wright's first heat of 2016, on the Gold Coast, it was obvious that she meant business.

It's no secret that in surfing, as in life, momentum is everything. It was obvious from Wright's very first heat of the season that she had sharpened her focus and enhanced her competitive approach. Happily for Tyler, she set the tone for her 2016 season with a win at the first event of the year, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast.

3. Resolve

Tyler in Yellow
A reinvigorated Tyler Wright talks about life in yellow.

"I'm very aware it's only the start of the season, but I believe I can hold on to it the whole year," Tyler said heading into Bells. "That's my plan." But she was dealt a big setback with a Quarterfinal loss to Conlogue, who went on to win the event, and nabbed the Jeep Leader yellow jersey from Wright. Undeterred, Tyler kept walking and talking like the frontrunner. It worked. She got her payback at Margaret River, defeating Conlogue in the Final for her second win of the season.

4. Rio, Rain or Shine

Grit in Brazil
A brief glimpse of the surfing that earned Tyler Wright a trip to her third final of the season.

Grit is one of the key ingredients to winning a World Title, and Tyler has it in spades. At the Oi Rio Women's Pro in April, two locations, tough conditions, a rainstorm and even a cold couldn't stop the Champion-to-be from topping the event. Her awards ceremony unfolded under dark clouds and rain, but none of that could stop Tyler's freight train of success. Wright was back in possession of the Jeep Leader yellow jersey.

5. Vive La France

Tyler's Patience Game
Wright's ability to stay calm under pressure was another key to her success this year. Case in point: Her slow QF heat in France.

After World No. 2 Courtney Conlogue -- Tyler's closest competitor for the Title -- won the Cascais Women's Pro, the title race moved to the Roxy Pro France. That continuation of the race only heightened the tension each time Conlogue or Wright paddled out, with every heat impacting who would become Champ. As it turned out, neither woman won the Roxy Pro -- World No. 3 Carissa Moore nabbed that one -- but Conlogue's loss in the Semis meant that Wright had won it all.

Adding to the drama, Tyler didn't know she had won it until six-time champ Stephanie Gilmore tackled her on the beach. Her Final against Moore was something of a victory lap, in which she wore a special jersey with her brother Owen's number 3 on it, and got her celebration started early.