Will Kelly Slater Miss Half Of The 2018 WSL Season?
Rumors say so.
It seemed innocent enough.
Last July, Kelly Slater was freesurfing up the point, during the WSL J-Bay Open. The waves were cooking and, well, the champ was feeling it. He took off on one, highlined, then saw a closeout section unfolding in front of him…
Why not pack it, just for kicks?
The answer to that question, of course, is because you could miss a year of competition.
After pulling in, Kelly had an awkward dismount — or lack thereof — and thoroughly broke his foot. He sat the next four events out, then surfed through the pain at Pipe Masters.
Kelly was awarded the WSL injury wildcard for 2018 and the surf world presumed he’d back for the season opener at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Not so much. He pulled out just before the event started and posted this on Instagram:
“For many months, my gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body… 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.”
Following the event on the Gold Coast, rumors are swirling of him sitting out for the first half of 2018, which would see Mikey February fill his slot for the indefinite future.
Now of course healing takes time, and how much is always the million dollar question.
When asked for comment regarding his plans for the next few events, Slater tells Stab he’s taking it “event by event as of now.”
What’ll Slater be potentially missing? Depends on when, exactly, he plans on coming back, but the next three events are Bells, Margaret River, and Rio de Janeiro. You don’t need 47 years worth of wisdom to know that those might not be the worst ones to skip.
After that, the tour gets very dreamy, fast.
Keramas starts in late May. Then J-Bay in July and Tahiti in August.
And it ain’t like the king is gonna miss the comp aout behind his Airstream in Lemoore come September.
Now, the spicy part: Kelly has been documented surfing incredibly well since the injury.
Sure, the road to recovery has its ups and downs, but when you read between the lines, maybe Slater is phasing himself out of competition? Or maybe the should-be-12-time World Champ wants some time to heal The Body, sharpen The Mind, and Go Hard at another World Title.
He does have his own wave. And his own surfboard company. And a lot of chia seeds. But, now that nearly half the tour is nearly half his age, does he have enough to go for the crown?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
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