Kelly Slater Drops Out Of Rio
The Oi Rio Pro, otherwise known as The Low Rent Replacement District.
Do names like Deivid Silva, Bino Lopes, Marco Fernandez and Lucas Silveria excite you? Kelly Slater’s officially withdrawn from Rio, stating personal reasons and opening the door for the low rent replacement district. Last season’s Junior Champ from Brazil, Lucas Silveria, will be taking the 11x world champ’s spot. At this point a total of 14 Brazilians will be competing at the Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona, the waiting period starts tomorrow.
Kelly’s withdrawal from the event, is rightfully something they don’t want to give too much real estate to. Today they posted an article breaking the news on their site. In order to read it you got to dig. In a veiled fashion, halfway down the homepage a thumbnail titled: Notícas WSL South America sits. And only upon clicking a piece named, Lucas Silveira entra na vaga de Kelly Slater no Oi Rio Pro 2016 shows up, the entire article is in Portuguese. The WSL is a global organisation, however the withdrawal of Mr Slater is headline news, but doesn’t fare well for the most questionable stop on tour. This, is not the first time Kelly’s pulled out of Brazil. In 2012 he missed the event citing a foot injury and instead was barreled out of his mind at Burleigh Heads with his personal photographic device. In 2014, he sliced his way to the semi’s losing out to Kolohe Andino, this was the last time Kelly was in title contention. And, last year, he suffered an early third round exit, served up by Matt Banting. After his slow start to the season and with uncertain wave quality for the event, he’s at least guaranteed better waves 150 miles from the ocean.
The replacement list continues to grow as more and more competitors remain injured or drop out. Kai Otton, has dropped out of the event also citing personal reasons. Owen Wright, Bede Durbidge, Taj Burrow (retired and still taking QS names at Keramas), Mick Fanning, world number five, Joel Parkinson (who last year stated he won’t be back to Rio) because he’s “mending a knee injury”, although he did spend the weekend at Keramas with Bruce Irons and Taj, will additionally be absent in Brazil. On the other side, Jack Freestone’s back and healthy heading into Rio. And so, this season’s staple replacements remain able and ready to continue their stride towards qualification: The current world number two, Sebastian Zietz, Dusty Payne, Stu Kennedy, Adam Melling and the kid from Rome, Sir Leo Fioravanti, will surf his second CT event of the year. Leo’s fresh off a quarter final finish at Margaret River, where he dropped the ax on both Adriano de Souza and Kelly Slater. Thus gaining the most nauseating nickname: the Italian Stallion. Rio notoriously holds the award for most event dropouts and because of this, there’s been obvious scrutiny. And after two large swells beat the shores of Barra Da Tijuca, washing out the Postinho site along with the bridge, designed to separate unruly fans from the competitors. The event will be held at the backup location, Grumari.
The current top ten is smattered with less familiar faces and it’s lemon fresh. With Matt Wilkinson still “eating yellow jerseys for breakfast,” and sporting a cushy 8,250 point lead, so far this has been perhaps the most pleasantly unpredictable year for the WSL of all time.
Round One Heats at the Oi Rio Pro:
Filipe Toledo, Kanoa Igarashi, Dusty Payne
Gabriel Medina, Stuart Kennedy, Leonardo Fioravanti
Julian Wilson, Davey Cathels, Deivid Silva
Italo Ferreira, Miguel Pupo, Bino Lopes
Matt Wilkinson, Jadson Andre, Marco Fernandez
Adriano de Souza, Keanu Asing, Lucas Silveira
Nat Young, Michel Bourez, Alex Ribeiro
Jordy Smith, Conner Coffin, Jack Freestone
Jeremy Flores, Josh Kerr, Adam Melling
Kolohe Andino, Wiggolly Dantas, Ryan Callinan
Sebastian Zietz, Adrian Buchan, Alejo Muniz
Caio Ibelli, John John Florence, Matt Banting
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