- WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

Michel Bourez (PYF), currently No. 21 on the Jeep Leaderboard, has withdrawn from the Oi Rio Pro, Stop No. 4 on the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT).

Bourez broke his hand and a vertebra while freesurfing Teahupo'o, one of the most challenging -- and punishing -- waves in the world, which also happens to be his home break. Bourez took a death-defying tumble, and was taken to the hospital for immediate surgery. He will be out of the water for a minimum of six weeks.

Bourez Hand One of the worst wipeout I've ever had at #teahupoo!! One Brocken hand and 6 weeks out of the water minimum!! Thanks to everyone out there today that helped me out when that happen!! I'm about to get a surgery now!! That drop was worth it tho!!! 😄👍 #GoBigOrGoToTheHospital - Instagram/bourezmichel - WSL

"It is terrible to hear the news of Michel's injury," said World Surf League (WSL) Commissioner Kieren Perrow. "He is the defending event champion and will be missed at this years Oi Rio Pro. We wish him a swift recovery in time for the next stop in Fiji."

Bourez won the 2014 Rio Pro, defeating Kolohe Andino (USA) in the Final. It was his second CT win of the season and set him on pace for a Top 5 finish in the final rankings for the year.

Alejo Muniz (BRA), who is leading the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings has been selected as the injury replacement. The Oi Rio Pro will stream LIVE here daily, from May 11-22, and on the new WSL app.

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