Words by Ashtyn Douglas.
After skipping nearly half of the 2018 CT season due to a lingering foot injury, 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater will finally be throwing the jersey back on at the Corona Open J-Bay, set to start July 2. Coincidentally, he’ll be making his grand return at the same wave that sidelined him in the first place.
A year ago, during a freesurf at the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay, Slater pulled into a beautiful-looking tube-one that looked pretty benign in comparison to the super-sized pit he just recently packed at Cloudbreak. But while it appeared tame, the wave shut down hard on The Champ, and pushed his board up into his foot in such a way that it snapped two of his metatarsal bones. Doctors said Slater would probably be out of commission for four to six months, which was about right, but since then the King has pulled out of every 'CT event from Snapper to Uluwatu.
A couple of weeks ago, Slater posted an X-ray photo showing a Turf Toe injury he recently sustained, admitting he had his doubts about whether or not he'd be well enough to return to J-Bay.
Strange looking things, feet. I've had 5 foot injuries now since 2003, the latest coming last week with a strained ligament (#TurfToe) on the same foot (R) I injured last year. Not a major injury but puts me in doubt for #JBay. Sometimes the universe directs you to where you need to be. Injuries used to really freak me out but they've taught me patience and and a sense of calmness somehow. Happy #WorldOceansDay and so long to a friend I never had the chance to meet in @anthonybourdain. I wish that meal had happened in Sydney and sorry you couldn't shake that feeling. Too many good people have gone down before their time. Reach out and call someone if that's happening to you. 🙏🏽👂🏽
But apparently that healed up faster than he expected, because Slater is officially back and will face off with Kanoa Igarashi and Italo Ferriera in Round 1 once the J-Bay event gets underway. Also returning to competition is Miguel Pupo and Wiggolly Dantas who will be taking the places of an injured John Florence and Caio Ibelli.
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