Surfer Wright battling balance issues ahead of Olympics

Australian surf ace Tyler Wright has been battling balance issues caused by frequent head knocks ahead of her debut Olympic Games.

The dual world champion withdrew from the World Surf League's event in Brazil three weeks ago because of the issue.

Wright was sent home to Australia for treatment ahead of competing at the Paris Games starting this month.

The 30-year-old had off-season surgery for a respiratory issue - the skull expansion operation essentially widened previously narrow airways that had left her struggling for enough oxygen.

Wright, who has seven screws in her head, said her balance problems were linked to the surgery.

"I’ve struggled this season with adapting only because I got hit in the head and I’ve still got a fair few screws in my head," Wright told reporters on Thursday.

"But it's all going well, it's the best I have felt probably throughout my entire life, so that's incredible.

"And I'm recovering really well as well, which has always been a struggle of mine.

"I have been injured a couple of times this year. It has been hard to push through a few things. I was told to come home and rest and get the treatment I needed.

"It happens when you get hit in the head a few too many times, I had a little bit of trouble with my balance.

"I had one earlier in the year, then I had a little knock again. I have had inner-ear issues that started in November last year.

"It's just my body making the adjustments, and when you get the (skull) expansion (surgery), it does put different pressure on your skull as well.

"Then it also has changed the way my neck (works) ... it's challenging but it's going well."

Wright, whose brother Owen won surfing bronze at the Tokyo Games of 2021, predicted no health issues when surfing at her debut Olympics at the world-renowned Teahupo’o wave in Tahiti.

She joins world No.4 Molly Picklum and Jack Robinson and Ethan Ewing on the Australian surf team.

But mentally the big breaks at Teahupo’o were another matter.

"Its one of those ones where it's a wave of consequence. I am not going to say that I am not scared - I am," she said.

"And I have done a lot in the last couple of years to sit with that."

Wright said she would adopt a simple mentality.

"I don't think it's that complicated: you either go or you don't, and that's about it," she said.

"And you make that decision in the moment, in those critical moments you rely on instinct, intuition, and I don't really put too much thought into that.

"The rest will unfold how it unfolds. As much as we like to be in control, we're not."

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