Kelly Slater Withdraws from Billabong Rio Pro 2012
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After reopening a cut on his heel getting super barreled at Cloudbreak, Kelly Slater was forced to withdraw from the Billabong Pro Rio. This just in from the ASP…
BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Tuesday, May 8, 2012) – Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, has withdrawn from the Billabong Rio Pro following a heel injury sustained in Java.
“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.”
Slater has been replaced by Willian Cardoso (BRA), 26.
Event No. 3 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Billabong Rio Pro will recommence this year’s race for the ASP World Title, following wins by Taj Burrow (AUS), 33, on the Gold Coast and Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, at Bells Beach. With Slater’s withdrawal, the current frontrunner spot on the ASP WCT ratings is up for grabs in Rio de Janeiro.
Here’s a recent self portrait tunnel vision shot of Slater. Maybe during a session just before hurting his foot. Photo via Facebook.