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  • Against the Water

  • A Surfing Champion's Inspirational Journey to Olympic Glory
  • By: Owen Wright
  • Narrated by: Barton Welch
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Against the Water cover art

Against the Water

By: Owen Wright
Narrated by: Barton Welch
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Publisher's Summary

The gut-wrenching story of how one of Australia’s finest surfers overcame a brain injury and despair to win an Olympic medal.

On the morning of 10 December 2015, Owen Wright entered the water at Pipeline, Hawaii, determined to become a world champion. But after being pounded by a set of monstrous waves, he ended up fighting for life and facing extensive brain trauma. In this inspirational memoir, Wright chronicles the events leading up to that fateful day, as well as the months and years that followed as he battled to regain basic functioning, and eventually the capacity to compete again at the apex of surfing.

Against the Water carries the reader back to Wright’s boyhood in the tiny town of Culburra, where his father, determined to raise champions, turned family life into a kind of boot camp. While eccentric, his father’s methods bore fruit: the Wrights of Culburra would become Australian surfing royalty. Owen’s story lays bare the complex relationship with his father – the adoration, the fight for independence, the fallings out, and the reconciliations.

Told in a spare, intimate style, Against the Water is the moving account of an athlete who refused to accept that his best days were behind him and raises fundamental questions around family and competition. What, ultimately, is our duty to our children? At what point does bravery become folly? And how much should we sacrifice for the sake of another?

‘Owen was a childhood phenom who grew into the ultimate family man. In between this transition, he took on the world, charged crazy waves, suffered a huge brain injury, and finished off with the all-time sporting comeback!’ Mick Fanning, three-time world champion surfer

‘Whatever it is that Owen is getting himself into, he seems to do it with little to no fear and a massive smile on his face. He’s an inspirational guy, to put it lightly. Owen is one special human!’ Liam Hemsworth, actor

‘Owen Wright has to be the most inspiring person I’ve ever met. His story is one of a childhood prodigy, to facing a near-death experience, to Australian hero . . . This book will inspire and motivate anyone who has had
to face adversity whilst following their dreams.’ Kita Alexander, singer-songwriter

‘[A] true fighter’s spirit!' Luke Rockhold, UFC middleweight champion, two-time jiu-jitsu world champion, three-time strikeforce middleweight champion

©2023 Owen Wright (P)2023 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

‘In the middle of the lockdowns, Owen came to stay with us. He had the North American leg of surf tour season and the Olympics right around the corner. Owen’s work ethic was apparent right from the get-go. All the gyms were closed, so Ow went to Walmart and brought home a $50 stationary bike. It was so small and so cheap but, let me tell you, that little bike could go. He would crush ten miles every day, never missing a beat. The mental capacity it took to do that many miles on that small of a bike . . . That’s a true fighter’s spirit! He never once got distracted or made an excuse in a time when everybody was, including myself. So obviously, when he took the bronze at the Olympics, I wasn’t surprised. I took that little Walmart bike and powder coated it bronze. She still sits in my front yard today, like a beautiful little lawn ornament. In memory of Ow and the Olympic dream.’ (Luke Rockhold, UFC middleweight champion, two-time jiu-jitsu world champion, three-time strikeforce middleweight champion)

What listeners say about Against the Water

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Determination

I enjoyed reading about Owen’s ability to comeback from a brian injury and find peace in his life

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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incredible

inspirational story of a boy with a dream, really enjoyed it and cute love story that accompanied

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Epic story

Amazing story 🙏🏼💪🏽🫡

Seen this dude as a kid and you knew he was going to go far.

Rob Wright what a lord of a dad.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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A good peak behind the curtain

A very inspirational story and as a surf fan I’m not sure I knew half of what he was going through. No doubt he’s a legend of a surfer.

Not the best prose though. Not sure what I was expecting in that regard to be honest and at least the story is well structured. Also the narrator mispronouncing surf breaks and surfers names was irritating.

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Awe inspiring

A candid look into the highs and lows of Owen’s life. This story can’t help but leave you inspired. A must read for all.

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