Kelly Slater Officially Out Of Rip Curl Pro Portugal
It’s been confirmed that pro-surfer Kelly Slater will not be competing in the next leg of the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal come October 20th. Slater badly fractured his foot in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, late in July whilst free-surfing, resulting in his having to withdraw from the Corona Open J-Bay. The 11-time Surf League champion was notably disappointed but the expectation was that he would be in a position to compete by the time that Portugal rolled around.
Slater described the injury as being one of the most painful experiences that he has ever had to endure, likening the pain to that of taking to one’s foot with a hammer. The injury had come at a particularly bad time during the Corona J-Bay Open too, as at the time Slater had been well ahead of the pack having jumped to the third round whilst other surfers were still battling it out with the second.
Nat Young will be replacing Kelly Slater in the draw for Portugal as well as the remainder of the competition, as it seems an unlikely event that Slater will be making his return very soon.
John John Florence Likely To Hold On To Lead
Eight world-championship contenders will be heading into Portugal: John John Florence, Jordy Smith, Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson, Julian Wilson, Filipe Toledo and Adriano de Souza. Each of the super 8 have a statistical chance at winning the big one.
This only means that John John Florence will have to work all that much harder to win his second world title. None of the others are going to give him even an inch of leeway and all 7 of them will pretty much have to land head first in the sand for him to be crowned overall victor.
All things being equal, the task ahead of the rest of the mighty pack will be all the more daunting should John John manage to take pole at Portugal. In fact, if he were to finish first at Portugal, next in line Jordy Smith will have to finish in 5th or better to stay in the running for the world title in Hawaii.
Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson face an even bigger challenge if this were to happen. Florence’s dominance may be marginal but he’s certainly upping the ante considerably for the rest of the pro-pack.
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