Back Pain Forces Kelly Slater to Take Indefinite Break From Contests

While the World Surf League’s Championship Tour got back in the water today for the start of the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil, it was surprisingly without 11-time world champ Kelly Slater. Pulling out of the contest at the last minute late Monday, the WSL announced Slater’s decision to skip the Oi Rio Pro in a press release.

“I have been working through some injuries the past several seasons and, unfortunately, I need to take some time off to mend my body,” Slater said in the press release. “I won’t be in Rio and I don’t know how long I’ll need.”

The last part of the statement is the most telling in all of this – Slater skipped the Oi Rio Pro last year as well (along with a number of veteran surfers). At 45, it seems constant travel is starting to take its toll on the champ’s body — despite Slater being one of the more healthy-living surfers on tour.

Kelly Slater won’t be putting on a jersey until at least June. Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Cestari/World Surf League

Slater says in the press release that he’ll be taking the next five weeks off to rehab the back in Australia with the WSL doctors, meaning that could potentially put him on schedule to be back on tour for the upcoming Outerknown Fiji Pro.

This is most likely his plan, as he and the WSL recently came to terms on having his men’s apparel brand Outerknown become the title sponsor of the Fiji Pro contest — we can’t envision Slater passing that up.

Slater also recently launched a web series “Continuance” that is going to be following what many speculate will be his last full year on tour.

Hopefully five weeks is enough time for Slater to get his lower back issues to a manageable state, but it’s also very possible that he’s going to need to take much more time off than that.

Read more about Kelly Slater from ASN

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