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Beach Grit

Breaking: Slater Breaks Foot at J-Bay!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Right in the metatarsals!

Oh this surfing, it’s a painful game.

Just yesterday my buddy messaged me, inquiring which orthopedic specialist I had seen for my ACL/MCL.

Turns out that, while surfing in Puerto Escondido this past week, he too bent his knee backwards — sending shockwaves up his spine and a distinct tenderness to his hinge.

“It’s alright,” he assured me. “Now both my knees are evened out.”

While not quite on the level of skating or motocross, surfing has a way of putting you on your ass, or head, or… metatarsals.

Just ask the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater, who hours ago suffered a broken foot while surfing in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. Let’s read from the Gram:

You ever folded your entire foot backwards? If you try it sometime, this is what it might look like. I pulled into a barrel this morning and the whitewash bounced the board back into my foot as I hit the closeout, taking all the pressure into the metatarsals. Kinda like smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can. Sorta feels like I’m giving birth out of my foot right now! I’m guessing surgery and 6 week holiday is in order. Not looking forward to 30 hour flight home before surgery though. Ouch! It sucks but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world everyday that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things. Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I’ll make the best of my time off. #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark #INeedElephantTranquilizers

A post shared by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

Sheesh. Six weeks means Teahupo’o and likely Trestles are out of the cards, which would leave Slater, currently rated eighteenth in the world, in a very vulnerable position.

Let’s just guesstimate that, by losing third round here and 25th at both Chopes and Lowers, Kelly would fall somewhere around the 26-mark in the standings.

Do you think he’d be able to crawl out of that hole, with only France, Portugal, and Pipe remaining in the season? Five years ago, it’d be without question. You’d have put five grand on Kelly finalling at Pipe if that’s what he needed to do. He was too good and too stubborn to lose like that.

But now… who knows?

And isn’t that terrifying!

Like, what if Slater fell off Tour? Sure, he’d almost definitely be saved by an Injury Wildcard, but the idea of Kelly being carried along by some technicality hurts my soul.

Before the season started, Kelly stated that this would likely be his final game of connect-the-same-eleven-dots. But do you really think he could go out like this?

It feels like he’s waiting for a highlight occasion, his Freddy P. moment, if you will, to turn his back on competitive surfing for good.┬áSave a win at Pipe, that seems improbable in 2017.

So what the hell does he do? Try to scrape his way back into the Top-22 by year’s end? Or fail to do so and cling to the injury wildcard, just for another swing at increasingly unlikely success? Does he drop the game altogether?

The Goat is in a serious hole, with no obvious way out.

I wish him the best with his foot and otherwise.