Kelly at Snapper prior to his metatarsal mischief. Photo. Simon Moorhead
Kelly Slater's Snapper No-Show
"If the event doesn't run tomorrow there's a better than not chance I'll surf." - Kelly tells Stab.
Friday night rumours that the 11x World Champ, Kelly Slater, wasn't going to arrive for the Quiksilver Pro circulated.
Saturday came around with little clarity, "He's coming", "He's not", were the murmurings around the contest area. Kelly himself seemed unsure replying to our inquisition of his Snapper status with, "good question."
By the time his scheduled round one heat came – the last of the day – his presence remained a mystery. Heat 11 was drawing to a close – Mick Fanning was rocking off past the keyhole and Jesse Mendes was coming to terms with the Snapper sweep.
The buzzer aired and the on site announcer declared the heat underway, "Mick Fanning in red, Kelly Slater in blue and Jesse Mendes in white" except, as was obvious to everyone on the sand or on the webcast; Kelly Slater was not in blue.
Kelly was nowhere in sight.
And so, the first two-man heat of the event ran.
The crowd thinned slightly as Mick had a stranglehold on Jesse. And, as Kelly Slater tends to steal grab the spotlight, the question on everyone's mind was Where is Kelly?
Earlier on, we hit Kelly with an update on his whereabouts and during his heat, he told us.
"I'm keeping Renato updated and he'll let everyone know how good it's going. Trying to get (my) foot working on the board right. If the event doesn't run tomorrow there's a better than not chance I'll surf."
Essentially Kelly is forgoing his round one heat and heading straight to Round 2, a move which may seem contentious, yet is allowed within the WSL's guidelines.
If a seeded Surfer advises the Commissioner’s Office that they are not going to attend their first round heat but will be present for their second round heat, their spot will be kept. If the Surfer does not check in at the paddle out time for their second round heat, a Replacement will be provided their spot in accordance with Article 9.01. If the Surfer fails to arrive on time for their second round heat, they will be subject to discipline as if they did not show." Reads Article 17.04 of the WSL's 2018 Rule Book.
So if Kelly can't surf when Round two swings around, regardless of when that is, Mikey February will be his replacement and will surf in Round 2.
"Kelly is gonna give it another day. Unless he gets here in time I will be taking his place" - Mikey told Stab.
Mr Slater is, however, known for miraculous recoveries. "I'm on the cusp of being able to surf so seeing what I can pull off," he told us.
It is likely that we will be enduring another night of undecided suspense, waiting until the last minute to find out if Kelly will surf.