"At the start of the week I said, O-Dawg [Owen Wright] I'll meet ya in the final," said Quiksilver Pro runner-up Matt Wilkinson. "So hopefully that happens."
It's bizarre, incredible, too-good-to-be-true stuff like this that was going on this past week at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Oh, yeah, and Owen and Wilko did meet in the Final. But beyond Wilko's clairvoyant call, it's Owen's road there that is most extraordinary.
Comeback. That's what they're calling Owen Wright's astounding rise to the top today. But this isn't your average come from behind. Owen didn't surf his Round One poorly and have to grind out an extra one. He didn't tear his ACL or something and half to sit out half a season. He didn't get caught up in partying, gain 40 pounds, and then have to lose it.
A year ago to the day, while Owen was watching his sister Tyler win the Roxy Pro, he was missing the 2016 Quiksilver Pro and literally wasn't sure if he was going to be able to surf again.
"You know, I was talking with his father earlier and he was telling me how he wasn't so sure if Owen would ever be back on Tour," Kelly Slater said. "Then to be able to come back and surf like this? He's surfing like the Owen right where he left off. He just picked right back up, you know? It's amazing."
And where Owen had "left off" was going into the last event of 2015 as an actual World Title contender. But Wright got injured at Pipeline shortly before the Pipe Masters and his future wasn't looking bright. Diagnosed as blood on the brain, Owen suffered from intense concussion-like symptoms for all of the following year, actually having to relearn how to surf at one point.
That, to Owen, may have been rock-bottom. At his very worst, laid up in a hospital bed, many of his close friends said that he looked nearly unrecognizable.
Fast forward to today and Owen's on top of the world. Currently, World No. 1, Owen was in tears with his accomplishment four days ago when he won his Round One heat. The thing is, he just kept going, his muscle memory of competition clicking and strengthening with each round.
"Right now, I couldn't be any happier," he said going into the Semis. "Coming from where I came from last year to this -- I'll just keep running with it."
Surely, his legs must be tired by now. In this contest alone, he took two the scalps of two World Champions, beating 3x Champ Mick Fanning in Round Three and event favorite Gabriel Medina in the Semis. He went on to beat his best mate -- last year's Quiksilver Pro winner -- Matt Wilkinson in the Final.
From an unsure injury wildcard to current world No. 1, this was clearly more than a comeback -- this feat was a miracle.
But lest we not forget a few other big stories that went down today. Certainly, the second most amazing being that of runner-up Matt Wilkinson.
While Wilko had a hell of a first half last year (winning this very event) some critics wondered if 2016 was a fluke. As proven by his surfing this entire week -- in the best Snapper this event has ever seen -- Wilko's game is not a fluke. Wilko paced himself perfectly, surfed extremely smart heats, beat 2016 World Champion John John Florence in the Semis and his backhand is looking more explosive than ever.
Based on his performance, there is no doubt that we'll see Wilko as a constant World Title contender for 2017.
The third story is John John Florence and Gabriel Medina's equal-third showings. John John showed excellent pacing this entire event, surfing smartly and not going pedal-to-the-medal unnecessarily -- but also radical-when-needed.
Medina, looking like the man to beat up until his Semifinal with Owen Wright, practically made no mistakes. With a possibly knee injury that he's surfed through this event, it will be interesting to see if that's an issue in the near-future. If not, than Medina is having a considerably better season start than last year, something that will bode well for his Title campaign.