"Both Matt Banting and Jordy Smith withdrawn from the event due to their ongoing injuries," said WSL Deputy Commissioner Renato Hickel. "WSL Replacements numbers one and two declined their spots due to other commitments. WSL Replacements numbers three and four, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) and Garrett Parkes (AUS) accepted their spots."
Smith and Banting suffered freesurf injuries during the J-Bay Open and will each count the event in Tahiti as their second injury withdrawal of the season (Smith previously withdrew from the Fiji Pro). Smith, however, has had a particularly frustrating season injuring both his back and knee.
After using the offseason to rehabilitate a shoulder injury he suffered during the Pipe Masters, he kicked the year off with solid results at Snapper and Bells. But his upswing was soon derailed when he hurt his knee in a freesurf during the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Still not feeling 100 percent, Smith finished 25th at the Oi Rio Pro and withdrew from the event that followed, the Fiji Pro. He made the most of his time off, rehabbing his knee in time for the J-Bay Open. But two days before the contest began, Smith's back went out. He ultimately decided to surf his Round 2 heat against Adam Melling (AUS) but was visibly sluggish throughout, and things eventually went Melling's way. Now at No. 22 on the Jeep rankings -- the lowest ranking a CT surfer can have and still requalify for the 2016 Tour -- it is likely that Smith will drop below the cutoff after Tahiti.