The GOAT has kept the world guessing since he shattered his foot last July at J-bay.
The initial prognosis was four to six months recovery time, with Slater returning only for Pipe in 2017, before sidelining himself once again for the first five events of the 2018 season. Fans were riled by sneaky appearances at the founders cup, and then biggest ever Cloudbreak. He addressed the criticism succinctly on instagram, saying:
“Lots of questions about competition and the event in Bali…Long story short, I am not on the level I want and need to be to compete.”
Then recently he claimed he’d suffered a secondary injury, which would keep him out of J-Bay. It’s been a roller-coaster, but yesterday- the 11 times world champ reported his foot will in fact be well enough to compete in South Africa in a few weeks time.
Great news for surf fans and probably quite annoying news for Italo Ferreira (who needs a solid result to maintain his position after an uncharacteristically poor finish at Ulus) and Kanoa Igarashi- both of whom will face off against Slater in round one.
In other news, John John Florence and Caio Ibelli are both out due to injuries, with their places set to be taken by Miguel Pupo and Wiggolly Dantas. And Mikey Wright, who is currently sitting at No. 7 on the Jeep Leaderboard, will fill the remaining wildcard spot.
Cover photo: WSL / Kelly Cestari