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Beach Grit

Shock: Kelly Slater “Not Planning” To Surf Rio!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Founders Cup, yes, Brazil and maybe Bali, no!

Last Friday, the WSL posted a very good story called Brazil’s Rich Surfing History Continues at the Oi Rio Pro.

The contest, which begins in one week, and shortly after the Founders Cup at Surf Ranch this weekend, is an event steeped in history and wrapped in notable historical monuments (churches and so forth) as well as a fabulous bucolic charm.

A slice:

The Church of Our Lady of Nazareth was built in 1630 and the surfers in the competition, when not paddling for priority, can take in the church’s incredible architecture and history from the water. The last 400 years, miraculously, haven’t seen much change.

Mick Fanning won his first title there in 2007; Kelly his seventh in 2005.

Brazil got history etc. Read here. 

But that ain’t enough to drag Kelly Slater there after the Founders Cup, where he’ll captain equal contest favourites USA (the other frontrunner is Brazil).

For the third year running, Kelly will be calling in sick for the Oi Rio Pro, an event he has missed four times out of the last seven years. In 2015, Kelly said the water, which scientists said was the equivalent of raw sewage, had made him sick and the following year was the epoch of the Zika virus. Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson and Kai Otton also tapped outta that one.

In a brief exchange on our telephones this morning, Kelly wrote he wasn’t “planning to” surf in Brazil and “might not surf til the J-Bay event. Not sure yet.”

Is it a pool thing? Is the tank light on a busted foot?

Kelly wrote it’s “somewhat” easier on his foot and that he’s not in pain and is only experiencing a “slight discomfort.”

When I asked whether or not he was worried of punitive action by the governing body of pro surfing if he surfs The Cup but not Rio, he politely tapped out with, “Sorry, not gonna jump into this clickbait. Hasn’t Jamie O humped a turtle today or anything?”

The WSL’s vice-president of strategic media announcements, Mr Dave Prodan, was contacted for comment. At the time of publishing, there was no response to a request for a description of the terrible punishment he must now prescribe for the former champion.