T-minus 10 hours and counting before the debut of the "Owen," or as Rip Curl's touting it, "the ultimate signature boardshort." The ultimate boardshort? Apparently they're made from the rare jungle fiber "aggrolite," yes, aggrolite, so they must be.
This may be one of those career moments in the life of a pro surfer, a cheeky smile, a slick new marketing campaign, a signature product ... made from aggrolite, yes, aggrolite. But Owen Wright's roots run deep, beyond billboards, online campaigns and aggrolite. The surf life is in his DNA, aggrolite or no aggrolite. It started with his father, then came his older brother Tim, then Owen, followed by two sisters, Kirby and Tyler, and finally wee brother Mikey paddled into their lives. Owen and Tyler are already standouts on the ASP World Tour, rated 10 and 5, respectively. Wee Mikey's undoubtedly bound for similar glory. The rest "surf for fun."
Hobgood, Lopez, Gudang, Irons, family bonds are a common plot line on tour, but never has a brother-sister duo so dominated the ranks. ESPN Surfing caught up with Owen and Tyler to see just what kind of effect growing up in such a surf-stoked family had on them, and in this day and age of Little League parents and aggrolite, apparently winning world titles never came up at dinner.
How has family helped guide your surfing?
Owen Wright: Family has always been there for me. From a very young age I was surfing out the front of our house with my older brother Tim and Dad. I would watch what they did in the water and try to copy and better it. As I got older and the family bigger (Kirby, Tyler, and Mikey came along) we would surf together with a bunch of other local crew pushing each other to do bigger turns, sit deeper on the bank and generally charge as hard as we could when the waves got bigger.
Tyler Wright: Being younger, I just tagged along and tried to do what my brothers and sister were doing … but better [laughs]. There wasn't a lot of guiding, it was all about having fun for me.
What kind of support do you get from having your family around that you might not otherwise?
TW: When I'm out surfing it's like having six coaches in the water, they all have there opinions on everything and they all think there right 99.9 percent of the time. I love it.
OW: I think the best support from my family was the honesty in the water, and out of the water, we could talk each other through waves, sessions and techniques, and not be afraid to let each other know what's going on, whether it was giving some s--- back when I deserved it or a pat on the back … which is kind of rare.
Who's the best surfer in the family?
TW: Well, we all know who that is ...
OW: Tyler, she's got it for sure, physical and mental strength combined with a love for surfing. It's letting her go places.
Talk about your father a little, did he teach you to surf? What kind of role model has he been as a surfer?
OW: We didn't have coaches on the south coast, so we worked with what resources we had. Dad is the biggest grom in the house, he's up early every day ready and checking the waves. He's going out anyway, I pretty much owe my love of surfing to dad, he introduced me to surfing when I was about 5 and made sure we were hooked and able to coach ourselves. I haven't looked back.
TW: Yeah, Dad's been a massive influence on getting me addicted to surfing, I don't think it was too hard for him 'cause once we were into it we never looked back and neither did he. We went on some of the most epic road trips ever and he taught us the true meaning of roughing it.
Did your old man ever sit you down and talk about world titles?
TW: That would be equivalent to him sitting us down and having the sex talk, one of those things that's just not in his nature [laughs].
OW: Yeah, he's not that type. Dad never talked to me about world titles. He was always talking about having fun doing what you love, while using your head. I was the one chasing him for information, the support was there.
How much do you talk about surfing around the dinner table?
OW: Dinnertime was for ragging out each other, not always about surfing. With four siblings there was always something to rag on, we didn't have to have surfing to do that, it was the noisiest, funnest time, we needed that … and some refereeing to keep the peace.
TW: Yeah, most of the time w'ere just ragging on each other, unless the surfs pumping, then it's usually who dogged the sickest wave or section.