Kelly Slater, 11x WSL World Champion, has formally withdrawn from the 7th event of the 2018 WSL Championship Tour season, the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o, due to an ongoing foot injury that he sustained in 2017. Slater, who broke his foot during a freesurf, has undergone a few surgeries to get back into competing form. Unfortunately the injury has not fully healed prompting the Florida native to take some precautionary steps.
"My gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body," Slater said earlier this year. "I feel I've had a couple of half-hearted attempts these past couple of years fighting injury and desire. The foot injury symbolizes a lot at this point in my career both as an ending and as a beginning."
Slater has had a long lasting relationship with the heavy wave spot. He's won the Tahiti event a total of five times throughout his career, with his most recent win being in 2016. In 2005, en route to his seventh World Title, he recorded the first perfect heat at the Billabong Pro Teahupo'o.
Mikey Wright will step in as his replacement. The Australian Wildcard is currently ranked No. 8 on the Qualifying Series (QS) and No. 9 on the Championship Tour (CT). Wright will face Adriano de Souza and Matt Wilkinson in Round 1.
John John Florence also pulled out of the event due to an ongoing injury. Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas will act as his replacement. Dantas will go up against Gabriel Medina and Tomas Hermes in the opening Round.
Watch the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o live August 10-21.