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Kelly Slater and Ian Gouveia Awarded Wildcards for 2018 Championship Tour

Afer 11x World Champion Kelly Slater was injured during a warm-up session at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa back in July he sat out the second half of the 2017 season. As a result, Slater finished the year ranked No. 28 on the Jeep Leaderboard, his lowest ever since joining the Championship Tour (CT) full time back in 1992. In his 23 years of competing as a CT star (he took a three year break from 1999 - 2001) Slater never finished outside the Top 10.

Kelly show up at the comp with his boot cast. Kelly Slater was a spectator at the Corona Open J-Bay after breaking multiple bones in his foot during a warm-up session. WSL / Steve Sherman

This year, because he finished below the CT requalification cutoff of No. 22, Slater applied for one of two available wildcard spots reserved for injured surfers to secure a spot on next year's CT roster. There was little doubt the man who owns nearly every record in the book would get it, and on Tuesday, that became official.

The second wildcard slot was awarded to Brazilian rookie Ian Gouveia, who nearly made the cut thanks to his standout performance at the Billabong Pipe Masters, where he finished 3rd. Despite his heroic effort, Gouveia fell just short, at No. 23. But with no other injured surfers to relieve, Gouveia's climb up the Jeep Leaderboard made the decision easy for Commissioner Kieren Perrow. The second-generation CT star was awarded the other wildcard and will be staying on in 2018.

Ian Gouveia of Brazil advances to the Semifinals of the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters after winning Quarterfinal Heat 1 at Pipe, Hawaii, USA. Though he fell just one slot short of the CT cutoff, Ian Gouveia's late charge at Pipeline ended up salvaging his 2018 Championship Tour hopes afterall. WSL / Damien Poullenot

Meanwhile, on the women's side, Malia Manuel took the wildcard slot. The Hawaiian missed four events in 2017 due to a knee injury, before coming back late in the season to make a Semifinals appearance in Portugal and Finals run on Maui.

The order of alternates was also announced Tuesday, and the biggest surprise there was that Bede Durbidge has elected to keep his spot as the No. 2 alternate. Though Durbidge is taking on a new role mentoring Australian surfers in 2018, he's elected to keep his heat skills sharp in 2018 should the opportunity arise.

6X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia is the WINNER of the 2017 Maui Women's Pro with Malia Manuel of Hawaii placing runner-up in the Final at Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, USA. Malia Manuel looks to be right back in the World Title contender camp now that she's back in peak form. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Here's a full list of the 2018 Championship Tour roster for both men and women.

2017 Top 22 Championship Tour Qualifiers: John John Florence (HAW)
Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Julian Wilson (AUS)
Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Owen Wright (AUS)
Kolohe Andino (USA)
Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Mick Fanning (AUS)
Connor O'Leary (AUS)
Frederico Morais (PRT)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Michel Bourez (PYF)
Conner Coffin (USA)
Joan Duru (FRA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA)

2017 Top 10 Qualifying Series Qualifiers (minus double qualifiers from CT):
Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Yago Dora (BRA)
Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Keanu Asing (HAW)
Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Patrick Gudauskas (USA)

WSL Wildcards: Kelly Slater (USA) and Ian Gouveia (BRA)

Men's Championship Tour Replacement Surfers:
Michael February (ZAF)
Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)

2017 Top 10 Women's Championship Tour Qualifiers: Tyler Wright (AUS)
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Carissa Moore (HAW)
Lakey Peterson (USA)
Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Sage Erickson (USA)
Johanne Defay (FRA)
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)

2017 Top 6 Qualifying Series Qualifiers (minus double qualifiers from the CT): Silvana Lima (BRA)
Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Coco Ho (HAW)
Caroline Marks (USA)
Keely Andrew (AUS)
Paige Hareb (NZL)

WSL Wildcard: Malia Manuel (HAW)

Women's Championship Tour Replacement Surfers: Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Pauline Ado (FRA)
Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)

The 2018 WSL Championship Tour season will commence with the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast from March 11 - 22, 2018.

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