“You ever folded your entire foot backwards?” Kelly Slater posts to Instagram after doing some serious damage to his foot while freesurfing at J-Bay.
The champ was prepping for his upcoming round 3 heat in the WSL comp this morning. He pulled into a closeout barrel, the whitewash clamped and flung his board back on to his foot. The impact was like being hit by a hammer, Kelly says.
Slater needed assistance leaving the beach and was taken to hospital for examination. Kelly had made it through round 1 of the J-Bay competition, beating Julian Wilson and Kanoa Igarashi in the process.
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 as it closed out bounced the board back into my foot, 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 #INeedPainkillers
Lensman Maarten Van de Velde caught the action and helped Kelly up the beach. He told MSW: "Well he was very considerate - I shouldn't get my feet wet to help him out of the water, the gentlemen he is. But he was in deep pain and the mental part was the biggest thing. I guess he is so bummed to be out of the comp since the waves are cooking.
"He estimated on the beach that he would be out of the water for at least six weeks also missing out on Teahupoo. He was very thankful for the help and the quick medical assistance through Koffie Jacobs, the event organiser, Cheron Kraak, the former billabong licencee in Africa and his long time buddy and former South African pro surfer Craig Mackay, who drove down immediately, gave him some warm dry clothes and accompanied him to hospital."
The injury will sideline him for the rest of the competition, and potentially take him out of the running at Teahupoo next month. Towards the tail-end of last season, Kelly revealed he planned to put together a title run this year, attempting to clinch his 12th world title. Currently sitting in 18th place, J-Bay and Chopes would have been crucial for Kelly's campaign. Does this mean we could get another year of the GOAT on tour?
Cover shot: Maarten Van de Velde