Kelly Slater had reason to like how things started at the Corona Open J-Bay. He’d topped both Julian Wilson and Kanoa Igarashi in his first heat of the contest, taking a free pass directly into Round 3 and leaving him with some downtime to take a freesurf at Boneyards, all while the contest continued through Round 2. Why stay on land when it’s firing, right?
“I was kinda figuring out, where am I gonna jump, where am I gonna jump?” he said on the WSL broadcast, giving the play-by-play of a wave that just gave a crushing blow to his title hopes. “I’ll just ride right into it…oh, man. Well, that’s J-Bay and Tahiti – out for the year.” A closeout barrel had compressed Kelly’s foot into his board, leaving him with two broken metatarsals. Slater dragged himself out of the water and had to be helped up the beach and into an ambulance from the contest site.
Leave it to Kelly to turn a heartbreaking broken foot midway through what’s supposed to be his final year on Tour into Monday Motivation, though. The gruesome x-rays he posted to his Instagram page came with an update on the injury as well as a few positive thoughts, showing that he’s keeping things in perspective. “You ever folded your entire foot backwards?” he wrote. “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 [sic] 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.”