When the backwash from a closeout barrel broke Kelly Slater’s foot during the Corona Open in J-Bay, he took it in stride. Resigned to missing the rest of the comp and the upcoming Billabong Pro, he vowed to make the best of his compulsory six weeks off.
An assessment from Kelly’s doctor in the States, however, has now extended the 11-time champ’s forecasted recovery period to four or six months. Whatever lingering hopes there may have been of Kelly continuing his bid for championship in 2017, that prognosis may have effectively put them to rest.
Kelly has defied time and age for more than the past four years by refusing to retire and remaining in the top 10 of the rankings. With the season halfway over though and Slater currently at 20th on the WSL chart, it would take more than a miracle to attain his goal of a 12th championship win.
Some can’t help wondering whether Kelly will give the title another go next year. Stab imagines him still on the tour on a non-full-time basis. Still others, like Sean Doherty, have decisively labelled the day of Slater’s injury the start of life A.K. (After Kelly), and mused on what the CT without him might look like.
Kelly himself remains outwardly positive, hoping to heal with “awareness” and “patience”, and looking to come out of the ordeal with “tips to share” for mishaps others might encounter.
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