BREAKING: Kelly Slater Injured at Corona Open J-Bay

17 Jul 2017 5

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

Kelly Slater at J-Bay in round one, Photo by WSL/Tostee

Kelly Slater at J-Bay in round one, Photo by WSL/Tostee

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So it's 15 minutes into Kolohe and Jadson's heat, (round 2, heat 4) a spectacularly gorgeous morning. I look outside to Boneyards, 150m up the line from Supers, where a magnificent set is unveiling itself. A low-slung figure gets the first wave, races it down the line. It's Kelly! He can't help himself, I think.

The wave stands up and he pulls in and it shuts on him. There's six or so waves behind it and I see Kelly Slater drifting in toward the Supers entry point. Maybe he just wanted one wave. KS does that sometimes. But he isn't standing up.

A few of us run down there. Kelly has his right bootie off. My first thought is broken ankle - that's the standard injury when you're compressed on to your board like that. But he already knows what it is. "Broken metatarsals," he says grimly, touching the surface of the foot. "I've done one of them before." I recall that, a few years ago now, it took him four months to get over it. This one, hell. I dunno if you can surgically secure those bones. Either way, he's done for 2017.

Which strikes me as just f--ked. Kelly was in form here, despite all the rubbish people have been talking about his boards, which here were clearly a step up, to coin a phrase. More significantly, he looked stoked and working up a head of steam. Now he's getting X rays and this very imminently epic contest will have to get on without him.

After winning his round one heat with a killer double-barrelled 9.17 against Julian Wilson and Kanoa Igarashi, Slater was due to surf next in round three. 

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