NewsJerome Forrest

Caio Ibelli Withdraws from Margies, Surf-Off to Determine Replacement

Brazilian Caio Ibelli broke his foot while landing an air in a freesurf, and has withdrawn from the men's Margaret River Pro, which has an event window that runs until April 22. He posted a shot of the wave where it happened on Instagram, writing, "Unfortunately I had to withdraw from the Margaret River Pro due to a broken foot on this wave training at the main break. God knows everything and I'm going to do everything I can to come back stronger. Thank you for the support!"

In an interesting twist, Ibelli's replacement will not come from the WSL Qualifying Series ranks, which was the springboard, for example, for Michael February, who's replacing Mick Fanning for the rest of the season. Instead, the two surfers who placed equal-third in the Margaret River Trials -- Jack Robinson and Jerome Forrest -- will battle for the spot in a 25-minute surf-off, which will run on the WSL broadcast before Round 1 begins. Both surfers are from West Oz, and have the power to prove it (exhibits A and B below).

Jack Robinson during Round Two at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia. He would end up falling to Dantas. Jack Robinson, whose heart-stopping tubes in Tahiti helped put him on the map, has competed here before as a wildcard. CT surfers, beware. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Ibelli, for his part, may be able to use his physical recovery time for a mental reset, too. So far this season, he lost in Round 2 at both of the contests that have run so far -- the Quik Pro Gold Coast and the Rip Curl Pro Bells. Margaret River is a place where he could have made up some ground on the rankings; At the 2016 event, he finished here in fifth place, for one of his best results to date. A kinetic surfer now based in Dana Point, Calif., with his partner and former CT surfer Alessa Quizon, Ibelli's results on Tour have not yet quite reflected his talent. He finished at World No. 18 at the end of last year, and at World No. 16 the year before, which was his rookie season.

For now, though, Ibelli's only job is to recover quickly -- and the results will follow. As for the rest of the men and women slated to surf at Margaret River, the event is expected to kick off Friday at 7:30 am local time.

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