‘Massive wave of consequence’: Tyler Wright embraces fear as Australia’s Olympic surf team confirmed

Tyler Wright will be out to emulate her Olympics medal-winning brother after Australia confirmed their surfing squad for the Paris Games. The two-time world champion will be joined in the Irukandjis team by Molly Picklum, Jack Robinson and Ethan Ewing, with all four surfers set to make their Olympics debut.

The Paris Games surfing event will be held at Teahupo’o in Tahiti, and Wright confessed she will have to overcome her fears when competing at the famed and dangerous break. Surfing was added to the Olympics program at the Tokyo Games, when Owen Wright claimed a bronze medal.

“To see surfing in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 was kind of surreal,” Wright said. “The Olympics for me is something I’ve sat down [to watch] since I was young and just spent two weeks absolutely obsessing over the sport. To see my own sport there was kind of weird but so cool. I’m excited to see where it can go from here.

“Teahupo’o is a massive wave of consequence. It’s beautiful, it’s raw and it’s a wave where you don’t want to find out the consequences. You want to go in with a really humble and respectful approach to mother nature and what she produces.

“More than likely I’m going to be scared, but it’s being honest with that and sticking to what’s important for me in that opportunity, that’s all I can ask for myself.”

The four Australians provisionally qualified for Paris by finishing in the top five of the World Surf League’s end of season rankings in 2023, then confirmed their spots by participating in the 2024 World Surfing Games in Puerto Rico.

Wright is currently eighth in the WSL Championship Tour rankings but has returned to form in recent events including a third-place finish at Western Australia’s Margaret River Pro last month. The 30-year-old was world champion in 2016 and 2017.

Picklum is currently the highest-ranked Australian woman in third place, after starting the season as runner-up at the Lexus Pipe Pro then winning the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach. The 21-year-old is renowned as a big wave rider and expected to be well-suited to the challenging break at Teahupo’o.

“To be selected on the Australian Olympic team is an honour,” Picklum said. “Once I put this shirt on and talk about it, it’s becoming real. I still don’t think I understand the full impact.

“Tahiti is a pretty scary wave. Our surfing team is really strong and this team is ideal for this location – the boys and Tyler are such good barrel riders, and this wave is all about barrel riding.”

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The Teahupo’o venue will make Olympic history as the furthest distance an event has been held away from the host city. Robinson already knows what it takes to succeed at Teahupo’o after winning the Tahiti Pro there last year.

The West Australian is second on the WSL Championship Tour rankings after victories at Margaret River and Sunset Beach. The United States’ Griffin Colapinto holds a narrow lead over Robinson, with Ewing fourth after finishing as runner-up last year.

“When I got selected it was a dream. Representing the Irukandjis, just really proud to represent your country,” Robinson said. “Teahupo’o is the heaviest wave in the world. It’s so gnarly, you just have to respect the wave every time you go out. It was really inspiring watching Owen, I just want to get to the Olympics first, once we’re there it will all unfold.”


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