Halfway through the 2018 Championship Tour season, Tyler Wright was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the season after dealing with a particularly viral strain of the flu.
Wright subsequently struggled through post-viral syndrome, which forced her to withdraw from all of the 2019 season. She only made her triumphant return to competition in the last event of the year on Maui -- where she stunned the surf world by upsetting the tight World Title race and finishing runner-up to Stephanie Gilmore.
Wright found herself reengaged and reinvigorated to start the 2020 season before the COVID-19 crisis hit and put the breaks on the CT season. This moment has afforded her the time to look back and reflect on everything she's been through.
"The amount of pain I was in consistently, and the state in which my mind got to…I couldn't have a conversation and I couldn't get out of bed. There was no relief," Wright explained in a revealing interview with the news program "60 Minutes" in Australia.
The two-time World Champ, who grew up surfing alongside her four siblings, admits that the early success she experienced as a rising surf star in Australia was not easy, and that through it all she struggled mightily with body image issues.
"I think I got to the point where I was 18 and so burnt out by everything that I'd already done," Wright explains. "When I was 18 I was an usual build. I was probably close to 70 kilos and I was very strong. I had huge quads, I was a very muscly kid. Eventually it wears you down to the point where you're just like, ‘I might not wear shorts anymore, I might just wear jeans." And yet I'm expected to go out and surf in bikinis."
But true to her nature, Wright persevered and would win back-to-back World Titles in 2016 and 2017. Then, in the prime of her career, while in South Africa in 2018 she came down with a nasty case of the flu.
"When Tyler complains about it's normally pretty bad," younger brother Mikey told "60 Minutes."
"It just kept getting worse," describes Wright.
Then, several months before the 2019 Maui Pro last December, Wright was back in the water and began to find her form. Brick by brick, she rebuilt herself to the point where she could once again go toe to toe against the best surfers in the world.
And now, when asked if she sees another World Title in her future, she confidently answers, "Yes."
"The Titles that I've won before, I've survived them, but when I win one again it will definitely have a different feeling to it," Wright surmises.