John Withdraws From Mexico And Tahiti To Rehab Knee. Kelly Shakes His Head. - Stab Mag

How Surfers Get Paid will drop at 6pm on Friday September 30

John puts more rotational force through his knee joints than most. Photo by Bosko.

John Withdraws From Mexico And Tahiti To Rehab Knee. Kelly Shakes His Head.

Knee injuries take notoriously long to rehabilitate.

elsewhere // Aug 1, 2021
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Following his Round 3 loss at the Olympic games, John has decided to waive the next two CT events to continue physical therapy on his ACL. What we saw at the Olympics felt like John surfing at 60%. I couldn’t help but wince everytime he went to the air or tried anything that put rotational force through his knee joint. In his first heat he fell on four of his first five waves. He clearly hadn’t had time to rehab properly.

In his own words:

“The opportunity to surf in Tokyo was once in a lifetime, and a risk I was willing to take. But looking at the rest of the year and talking with my medical team, the best step forward is continuing with physical therapy for the next 60 days. I want to make sure there is nothing that keeps me from competing, and surfing the way I want to in the long term.”

Knee injuries suck for a few reasons. 

For one, ligaments are poorly vascularised, meaning there is limited blood supply to deliver nutrients and factors that promote healing. Ligaments are tough, rope-like tissues that connect bone to bone and they do not simply grow back, which is why grafting is often required for reconstructive surgery. 

Two, the knees are load-bearing joints that are constantly stressed when standing, meaning recovery can be highly restrictive ones’ general freedom to move around until swelling has reduced. Not only does this mean rehab needs to be delayed until inflammation has subsided, but it also means that the stabilising muscles atrophy in the wait period. 

How an ACL snaps. Image courtesy Sports Injury Bulletin

Three, because the knee is the body’s most complex joint with four major ligaments, tendons, menisci (cartilage) and bursas all crammed into an area the size of a grapefruit, it is rare to only damage one thing in particular. Therefore, It’s unlikely that his ACL was the only thing damaged at the Margaret River event. 

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) runs through the middle of the knee connecting the tibia to the femur and and is the worst ligament you could tear in your knee with the longest healing time.

Taking this time off to rehab and reset seems like the smart thing to do if he hopes to look like a World Title threat again. 

ben reed
Probably not what the doctor prescribed. Photo by ISA/Ben Reed.

The Corona Open Mexico event will run from August 10-19 and the Outerknown Tahiti Pro will run from August 24-September 3 without JJF, Julian Wilson and possibly Gabriel Medina in attendance. 

Should John have let the 49 year old, 11x World Champ, Kelly Slater take his Olympic spot in Tokyo if he wasn’t anywhere near 100% recovered? 

Personally, I think if I was in his position I would’ve said fuck that and surfed anyway on a dodgy knee. There’s only one first Olympic games for surfing, I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity in a hurry even if I wasn’t a realistic threat for a gold medal.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022


You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022


Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022

Where You Should Be In Europe Right Now

An overview of the region's greatest hits.

Sep 25, 2022

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test With Mick Fanning, Episode 4

There are three boards left. Which one is Mick taking home?

Sep 23, 2022

Watch: Tresha

The Bella Kenworthy Edit.

Sep 22, 2022

Photos: Welcome To Vans Stab High Indonesia, Presented By Monster Energy

Welcome to Lakey Peak. Now do airs.

Sep 22, 2022


Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit 'Sonic Youth' now.

Sep 22, 2022

The Four-Finned, Carbon-Wrapped, Vacuum-Bagged Board That Won The 2022 World Title 

The minds behind Sharp Eye and Dark Arts break down Filipe's winning plank.

Sep 22, 2022