Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater Officially Pulls Out Of Snapper

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Kelly Slater Officially Pulls Out Of Snapper

Michael February temporarily takes Kelly’s Round 2 elimination seed. Josh Kerr tells Stab that’s actually an advantage. 

news // Mar 12, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The ever-echoing question, “Where’s Kelly?” has been answered. The 11x World Time World Champ and 6x Snapper champ, announced today that he’ll be pulling out of the event. He will be replaced by South African Michael February, for his first official slot after qualifying for the CT.

Yesterday, Kelly didn’t arrive for his Round 1 Heat 12 matchup with Jesse Mendes and Mick Fanning, citing the ongoing recovery of his foot which was sustained at J-Bay mid-last-year. The heat was being cast as the potential last battle between Mick and Kelly. Unfortunately for Kelly, Mick, but mostly the spectators, it’s possible we’ll never see the two surf together. 

We will now have the delight of witnessing Mikey February surf his first ever CT heat – as he is the first replacement on the tour. Initially, we were anticipating the entrance of the South African on tour from Bells onwards, where he will be replacing Mick Fanning when he retires after Bells. Now, thanks to Kelly stepping down we’ll be seeing how Mikey fares two events early when he comes up against Keanu Asing in Heat 7 of Round 2 – which will take place tomorrow morning. 

While all of the past 24 hours of confusion abide by the WSL’s rulebook, it seems mildly unfair that Mikey will receive only one chance at making past the second round.  

There is, however, a huge advantage to this position, instead of being seeded as the third lowest, Mikey is seeded in Kelly’s position which puts him up against Keanu. If Mikey was seeded normally, he would be up against the likes of Gabby, John or Jordy. Although, if Mikey makes it through his Round 2 heat though, he won’t continue to hold Kelly’s seed, instead, he’ll be re-seeded towards the bottom.

This raises the question of whether a lower seed surfer would prefer to surf Round 1 as a low seed, or miss Round 1 to start in a two-man Round 2 heat as a significantly higher seed. Speaking to Josh Kerr at our house earlier, he said he’d prefer to surf the latter. 

As is tradition, Kelly took to his Instagram page with an elaborate rundown of his reasons for not forgoing competition today.


“I have officially withdrawn from the #QuikProGoldCoast. For many months, my gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body. The looming excitement about a new year starting, my foot sort of magically allowing me to surf the past couple of days, and a number of other factors had me talking myself back into jumping in as soon as possible against my better judgment. I feel I’ve had a couple of half hearted attempts these past couple of years fighting injury and desire. The foot injury symbolizes a lot at this point in my career both as an ending and as a beginning. Hearing @mfanno talk about his reasons for retiring at the upcoming Bells event yesterday rang true for me also around going in the direction of doing things that make you uncomfortable. Competing is a natural environment for us both and it’s the easy route for me. I think it best that I properly rehabilitate the injury and choose to surf wholeheartedly, not from the excitement or stress of a last minute arrival. It’s not very professional or responsible and it won’t allow me to be at my best potential. I really love the energy around the events, especially a new year, and I find myself at odds especially with a potential Kirra swell approaching. I wish the best for everyone this event and a special good luck to @mikeyfebruary who will surf in my absence. Let him know if he wins I’m requesting a 10% caddy fee!


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