Now Slater is back.
The severity of his 2017 injury was initially unclear, and it's since taken the 11x World Champ a year to return to the CT stage. The incident was an unfortunate setback for Slater who, at the time, had found his form and was planning on making a run for his twelfth World Title.
"It sucks but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world everyday that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things," Slater said. "Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I'll make the best of my time off."
The Champ has made a number of cameos over the last year, but has been unable to fully commit to the CT. His return to the place it all happened -- at the Corona Open J-Bay -- will be especially meaningful.
"My gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body," continued Slater. The Floridian will meet current World No. 3 Italo Ferreira and Kanoa Igarashi in Round 1 once the event kicks off July 2.
Brazilian surfers Miguel Pupo and Wiggolly Dantas will be their replacements. Mikey Wright, who is currently sitting at No. 7 on the Jeep Leaderboard after a series of successful results, will also have a wildcard spot.
Watch the Corona Open J-Bay live daily July 2-13 on Facebook and World Surf League.