Will Slater Get An Injury Wildcard For 2019?
Another foot injury has left Slater sidelined, raising the question of how his situation will be treated come the end of the 2018 season.
“Strange looking things, feet,” Kelly Slater stated in his most recent Instagram post.
“I’ve had 5 foot injuries now since 2003, the latest coming last week with a strained ligament (#TurfToe) on the same foot (R) I injured last year,” Slater continued. “Not a major injury but puts me in doubt for #JBay.”
Since ripping apart his metatarsals last year at the South African point, Slater has only competed at one CT event, being the 2017 Pipe Masters.
After the fall at J-Bay, Slater underwent surgery resulting in some bolts in his foot, which were then removed this past February.
Slater has been surfing a lot since the removal of said hardware, but is admittedly “not on the level I want and need to be to compete”, which is why we haven’t seen him in a jersey this year (Founder’s Cup excluded).
J-Bay was supposed to be his comeback event, but this recent turf toe injury has likely sidelined him yet again.
“Sometimes the universe directs you to where you need to be. Injuries used to really freak me out but they’ve taught me patience and a sense of calmness somehow,” Slater posited under his photo.
One concern with Slater’s string of injuries is whether or not he’ll be allowed to compete on next year’s Tour. While it may seem like Slater’d be a shoe-in for the injury wildcard, Caio Ibelli and John Florence have also suffered potentially season-ending injuries in 2018. Because Slater has been surfing through his injury, many critics have demanded that he either compete in the remaining CT events or relinquish his rights to an end-of-the-year wildcard.
With only two wildcards up for grabs at the end of the year, and assuming John and Caio are unable to requalify through their own results in 2018, the WSL will have to determine which two of the three are most worthy of the free season passes.
John would get one without a doubt, considering he’s the current World Champ and was injured mid-season.
But with Caio and Kelly, the answer is not so simple. Kelly has legacy in his corner, but Caio’s injury is more current and/or currently severe. Frankly, if Caio was in Slater’s condition, there’s hardly a doubt that he’d at least be trying to compete on the Tour.
Nevertheless, Caio’s predicament will be weighed against the loss of our 11x Champ and greatest surfer of all time, Mr. Robert Kelly Slater.
As one Stab commenter presciently declared, after learning about John’s knee injury and performing quick wildcard math in his head: “Caio is fucked.”
KP will certainly have a tough decision to make come season’s end.
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