cover art for 499: Surfing champion Owen Wright and the greatest comeback story of all time

Better Than Yesterday: Osher Günsberg

499: Surfing champion Owen Wright and the greatest comeback story of all time

Ep. 854

If you hurt yourself, doing something you loved, would you do it again?

What if it was something that because you were so passionate about it that had you ended up becoming one of the best in the world at it - which then became a gig that paid really, really well - if you hurt yourself doing that thing do you think you would do it again?

What if the injury was so severe that it nearly killed you, and it took you almost a year to be able to walk or talk again? Would you go back to it? Would you face the fear of getting hurt again? And even if you did go back, could you handle being nowhere near as capable as you once were?

That is exactly what Australian Surfer Owen Wright did.

In 2015 while surfing at pipeline, Owen sustained a traumatic brain injury that very nearly killed him.

Unable to walk or talk properly, not only his life, but his surfing career hanging in the balance.

The story of how Owen managed to regain mobility, and not only get back into the water, but to go on to win Australia’s first Olympic surfing medal in 2021, is easily one of the most inspirational comeback stories ever told.

We are only beginning to speak with appropriate gravity about brain inquiries in sport. There’s a renewed emphasis on safeguarding athlete well-being and minimising brain injuries in Australian athletes. The Australian Government has even increased funding to enhance research and prevention of brain injuries and concussions in sports.

As far as what you and I can do? We can have conversations around these injuries and start showing our children that safety matters, because a brain injury is life long and potentially life ending.

Even if you’ve never surfed, or never had to rehab after a significant injury - this chat with Owen Wright is easily one of the most incredible conversations about what recovery from a traumatic injury actually looks like.

Owen even generously shares about a near-death experience which left me utterly transfixed.

Not everyone is going to learn how to walk again and then win an Olympic medal - but it’s important to know that it can be done.

It’s a brilliant listen, and I hope you enjoy it.

Stay up to date by joining the mailing list here: 

Osher Günsberg - Better Than Yesterday Podcast | Linktree

Anything else? Come visit us on discord. Join the oshergünsberg Discord Server!

More episodes

View all episodes

  • When being on time makes you 20 minutes late (and four more bits of wisdom from the 101 Rules of Show Business)

    In this episode Osher explores rules 14-19 of his 101 RULES OF SHOW BUSINESS, including this cracker he learned from Dan Machpherson: Rule Number 16: If you arrive at your call time, you’re 20min late. The time on your call sheet isn’t the time you’re pulling into the carpark. It’s not the time you’re making a cuppa in the kitchen. It’s the time you’re ready to go. Get there 20 mins early to do all that other stuff, because working in entertainment is a dance between hundreds of people trying to coordinate perfectly - and you need to be where you’re told to be exactly when you’re told to be there so that everyone else can do their job too. For more (and every episode ever) head to
  • The true meaning of courage and facing the brutal cost of war, plus some solid SurvivorAU stories (w/ Mark Wales)

    When it comes to foreign policy, sometimes a credible military consequence is required to ensure that diplomacy can work. Keeping peace between nations is vital, however sometimes the decision to move to violence is made by someone else - and then a government has few options on the table. But what happens when our government’s decision to send our military into a war zone under the auspices of protecting our country no longer serves us? Today Osher speaks with Mark Wales, a former SAS commander who’s probably going to surprise you with his views on national security. Mark joined the army at 17 and eventually made ten deployments, including Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, Iraq, Afghanistan, Fiji and Lebanon. This conversation dives deep on sleep, mental health, gun violence, trauma, parenting, and life in the military. And don’t worry. Osher absolutely asked him about winning Survivor. Mark is not only a fascinating man whose geopolitical knowledge is super-sharp, he’s a fabulous author. He’s penned a best-selling autobiography “Survivor”, and his latest book “Outrider” is a dystopian sci-fi novel set in the woody forests of Victoria. ‌ If you like this episode be sure to check out Osher’s chat with former SEAL team sniper Brandon Tyler Webb, a cracking conversation with fellow Brisbanian Paul De Gelder and for the other side of things, legendary war correspondent Michael Ware. ‌ Every episode ever is available at, where you can also leave Osher a message (even a voice mail)
  • Nothing works unless everything works (and four other gems from the 101 rules of show business)

    In this episode Osher explores rules 10-13 of his 101 RULES OF SHOWBUSINESS, including this beaut: Rule Number 13: Nothing works unless everything works. Every moment you’re at work is a moment you’re not with your family or doing something you love. Time is money and you only get so many hours alive, so don’t waste either. To avoid days slowing down, budgets getting blown or work grinding to a halt - be helpful. For more (and every episode ever) head to
  • The difference between a dream and a goal is..

    Following Snezana Wood’s (link her episode here) episode this week, Osher explores what it means to challenge yourself with something you don’t think you can do, and opens up about one of his long-term goals. If there are things you’ve always wanted to do, perhaps this may be of use to you in starting the journey towards those things real. Because there’s a big difference between a dream and a goal. If you feel like you want to share yours, there’s a contact form at
  • Transforming your life by trying things you don’t think you can do (w/Snezana Wood)

    Snezana Wood’s story might be one that you think you know - however there’s a lot more to her than you could possibly imagine. Today Osher speaks to this powerful mother of four who has a heck of a story to tell - it’s so good that there’s a whole book about it, which is incredible considering how busy a busy mum of four kids with a a degree in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology must be. ‌ Her new book Untold: A story of love, motherhood, heartbreak and change is out now. ‌ For every episode ever and to get in touch head to
  • Rule Number 7: The moment your heart doesn’t race when you turn on the microphone, get out of the chair and give someone else a go.

    Osher is slowly working his way through the 101 Rules of Show Business and today's rules a doozy. Even if you never work in entertainment, it’s a rule that can remind you when it’s time to step aside from something (even a relationship!).Also Rule 9 will blow your mind.You’ll never think about getting fired the same way.
  • The most powerful productivity and wellbeing technique is way more fun than you imagine

    Anyone who’s said “I’ll race you” to get their kid to the bathroom/dinner table/daycare/doctor - knows that working play into things is a very effective motivator.In recent times it’s been called “Gamification”.But how much play is in your life?And besides getting things done - what other value can play bring to you as an adult?Following on from his chat with Dr Ali Abdaal (, Osher explores the surprising benefits of using play as an adult - as well as some mind-blowing examples of how some of the biggest brains every to walk the earth deliberately used play to in their work.
  • The secret to maximising productivity is play (and other insights from Dr. Ali Abdaal)

    Dr Ali Abdaal is a world-renowned expert in Productivity. He spent a few years working with the NHS in the UK before leaning full time into the videos he was making, initially to help other med students pass their exams. This grew into a larger offering around making sure your work ethic and your values are aligned in the best way possible… Today Osher and Ali speak about scientific ways of approaching productivity, methods to make sure that we’re doing more good work in less time, and therefore giving us the free time to recharge, recoup, reflect, and perhaps just think - so that when we’re back on the tools we come with a fresh perspective, fresh ideas, and the ability to produce higher quality work than if we’re up at 3am trying to finish something. He’s a fascinating man, his YouTube is epic - and his latest book is a New York Times bestseller, “Feel Good Productivity“.If you've never done a values quiz before, they can be very valuable to help with decision making:‌To get in touch with Osher, get on the newsletter and listen to every episode ever, head to