Kelly Slater Slapped With COVID+ Following Oscars, May Miss Bells - Stab Mag

Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy Will Be Broadcast Live On June 21st and June 22nd from 5 PM - 10 PM PDT

An April fools jash? Or does Kel really have the spicy cough? Photo by WSL

Kelly Slater Slapped With COVID+ Following Oscars, May Miss Bells

Current #2 in the WSL rankings goes down to #1 microbial nuisance.

news // Apr 3, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Bells event window starts on the 10th April and runs until the 20th. 11x World Champion and 4x Bell ringer, Kelly Slater aka ‘the GOAT’ will likely be amiss. After presenting at the Academy Awards last weekend, Gucci-clad, the GOAT has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19 over Instagram. 

Per his latest IG story: “This was my gift from the Oscars”, the text overlaid on a screenshot of a positive test result issued in San Clemente. The GOAT’s positive PCR sample, collected on 31st of March and returned in the past 48 hours, means he will be asked to isolate until at least the 4th of April. If he returns a negative test after 5 days of isolation and he is not presenting with symptoms he will be allowed to roam the Hollywood hills by tomorrow. 

However, given Australia’s significantly more stringent COVID-19 policy which requires all international passengers to submit a declaration of their COVID-19 health information (vaccination status and COVID-19 test result) within 72 hours before their flight, the GOAT track to Bells will be riddled with admin, lag time, brain tickles and squinting at fineprint. At the least it will be sub-optimal comp prep, at the most it may preclude him from surfing for his 5th Bells trophy. 

Steph Gilmore suffered a similar fate at the start of the year at Pipe where she failed to pass the WSL’s COVID protocols at the beginning of the Pipe Pro event window. WSL COVID policy guidelines stipulate all surfers must:

  • Complete COVID-19 testing prior to arrival in AUS 
  • Vaccinated and non-vaccinated event attendees must present a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR -72hrs, or Antigen -48hrs) to check in to the event, or recovery documentation, or return a negative Antigen test result to check in to the event.
“Kelly is not officially out at the moment. If that happens, the spot will be determined by Tours and Competition. Jordy (Lawler) is a possibility, but not a guarantee,” said the WSL.

While Steph had the potential to miss her first heat and surf in Round 2, the WSL’s SVP of Tours and Head of Competition, Jessi Miley Dyer made the policy details crystal clear: “We base our decisions on whether to run an event solely on the competitive conditions available for our athletes. In the interest of fairness, individual illnesses or injuries, however unfortunate, cannot be a factor.”

As we learned in last week’s podcast, Kelly’s Oscars appearance was not the first time he had potentially jeopardized a contest appearance to present awards for the rich and famous. At the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in 2005, Kelly flew to Sydney mid-contest for the MTV music awards, where co-presenter Anna Nicole Smith dropped her dress mid-speech causing much stir. “Going to the MTV awards during the Gold Coast contest I don’t think was the wisest choice to make,” he said in his 2005 documentary, Letting Go. The GOAT went on to win the title that year.

Caption this: wrong answers only

The WSL told Stab, “Kelly is not officially out at the moment. If that happens, the spot will be determined by Tours and Competition. Jordy (Lawler) is a possibility, but not a guarantee.”

More to come on this. 


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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Allow Us To Introduce The YETI Ladybirds And Bottle Rockets Of Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

Here's our schoolyard pick for teams; who will win the most cred at the lunch…

Jun 17, 2024

Prediction: Moving The WSL Finals To Fiji Will Kill Off Two More Surfing Superstars

Is this JJF's time to collect his titles? We checked the stats.

Jun 17, 2024

Confirmed: Fiji To Host 2025 WSL Finals

Cloudbreak will remain on tour until 2026.

Jun 17, 2024

What’s The Secret To Powersurfing?

Taylor Knox, Kyuss King, and Jessi Miley-Dyer tackle a trio of questions in our third…

Jun 16, 2024

How To Win Stab High Japan, Presented By Monster Energy

A statistical analysis of the 493 airs attempted in previous chlorinated editions.

Jun 16, 2024

Watch: An Intimate Portrait Of The Wave, Village, And People At The End Of The Road

Oxbow’s ‘Children of Teahupo’o’ is playing exclusively on Stab Premium for the next two weeks. 

Jun 15, 2024

Fuck It, Run The Entire CT In Indo

A historic beginning to the Indonesian dry season.

Jun 14, 2024

Ferrari Boyz: Holly Wawn

"I've had 4, 5, maybe 6 cars... I'm a car dealer I reckon."

Jun 13, 2024

A Miscalculated Shallow Dive, Neck-First, Into The Waters Of Japanese Surfing

How is surfing different in the land of cherry blossoms?

Jun 13, 2024

How Has Ian Crane Made 4/5 Stab High Finals?

And who he's most afraid of competing against in Japan.

Jun 13, 2024

“I Haven’t Seen Anyone That Young And That Keen For Heavy Waves In A Decade” —Shane Dorian

Jacob Turner is 16 years old and trying to paddle tow sets at Teahupo'o...on his…

Jun 12, 2024

Long Read: 1,000 Ways To Die In Indonesia

18,000 islands of beautiful people, world-class waves, and danger around every corner.

Jun 11, 2024

Watch: Craig Anderson And Kaito Ohashi Find (Mostly) Empty Waves In Southeast Asia

Oh, and enter to win a grand worth of DB gear.

Jun 11, 2024

Brad Gerlach Rode A 600cc Motorbike Through Europe’s 1980’s Psychedelic Renaissance  

"Fuck London. Let’s just buy motorcycles tomorrow and drive to France, man."

Jun 11, 2024

Caroline Marks Goes Two-In-A-Row And John John Florence Wins First CT Event Since 2020 At The Surf City El Salvador Pro

Plus, we asked Chris Cote for a look into the commentary team's psyche and Griff…

Jun 9, 2024

Why Is Mavericks Core Getting Overrun By Yuppies?

And other questions from our audience — answered by Pete Mel, Mick Fanning, and Joel…

Jun 9, 2024

Everything Worth Remembering From 4 (Mostly) Forgettable Quarterfinals In El Salvador

Plus, what's the consensus on the Griff vs. João kerfluffle?

Jun 8, 2024

Wildcard Big-dogs Italo, Yago Pops The Cork, And Griffin Cops An Ambiguous Interference On Day 2 In El Salvador

"Honestly, that was a bad... uhh I mean, a tough call." - Strider

Jun 8, 2024