Kelly Slater announced that he will not be competing in the Billabong Pro Rio due to an injury to his heel that he sustained while surfing in Java. Slater is the defending 11-time World Champion and is currently leads the ASP World Tour Rankings. Brazilian Adriano de Souza currently sits in second place and is the defending Billabong Pro Rio champion, albeit under somewhat controversial terms.
“I injured the inside of my left heel in Java and then re-opened it again the following week at Cloudbreak,” Slater said. “It became infected and I flew to Australia to get it treated and stitched in hopes of making it to Rio, if not for Round 1, at least for Round 2. I’ve been in the water since getting it stitched and while I can go straight, I can’t do turns at all right now so I’ll have to pull out of Rio. It’s unfortunate, but I’m just going to focus on healing up as soon as possible right now. Good luck to all the competitors in Brazil and I’ll be watching online.”
The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Rio begins May 9 and extends until May 20th. Check out the official event site here.