Breaking: Kelly Slater Will NOT Be Flying On the WSL's Private Jet To Australia - Stab Mag
Photo: WSL/Seguibo

Breaking: Kelly Slater Will NOT Be Flying On the WSL’s Private Jet To Australia

Here’s what we know.

Words by Michael Ciaramella

It was recently revealed that Kelly Slater, the 49-year-old 11-time World Champ, will NOT be flying on the WSL’s private jet to Australia, which is due to leave Los Angeles, California, in two days’ time.

Our sources say Kelly will also be missing the New South Welsh leg of the tour, including events at both Newcastle and Narrabeen. He is currently undecided on whether or not he’ll surf the West Australian leg (Magaret River and Rottnest.

Kelly has decided to pull out of these events due to the foot injury he sustained in South Africa in 2017, which has reportedly been giving him trouble of late, along with a few other bodily ailments.

“I’ve been struggling with recent and ongoing injuries in both ankles since the Pipe Masters event and I had a separate injury in my right hip (and maybe previously broken foot) this past week which has left me unable to surf,” Slater said. “It’s a tough one for me because I love Australia so much and miss the time I usually get to spend there each year. I’ll just have to use the time to get myself up to a level physically I never really got back to after my broken foot (in Jeffreys Bay in 2017) and get myself out of constant pain. Good luck to all my fellow competitors and I hope to see everyone back on tour soon.”

Some of you will take this news with a double-shot of skepticism. But before donning the tin foil cap, consider this:

If ever Kelly wanted to win another World Title, this year might have been his best bet.

After finishing third at the first event of the year (Pipeline), and with a season that will likely contain no more than seven events, Kelly was well-positioned to earn a spot in the WSL Finals, which take the top-5 men and women from the season and put them head-to-head in a single-day World Title showdown.

While the Australian events may not be Kelly’s strongest on the schedule, he still could have clocked a couple decent results and laid the groundwork for a late-season surge at Teahupo’o and the wave pool—two of his favorite venues, after Pipeline.

As far as the WSL Finals go, it’s true Kelly would have a better chance keeping up with the Johns, Gabes, and Italos of the world in eight-foot tubes, but let’s not forget that the man has won at Trestles more than a handful of times, and in a single-day event, anything can happen.

Especially if there’s a sweatband involved.

Slater’s absence in the Australian events will be filled by Mikey Wright. We wish both of them the best of luck.

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