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Kelly Slater Eliminated from World Tour for First Time in His Career

Kelly Slater Eliminated from World Tour for First Time in His Career

 

Yesterday was a big day in Western Australia. With the Margaret River Pro moving into the main rounds, approximately half of the men’s world tour was in danger of being dropped at the mid-season cutoff. A total of 22 out of the top 34 remain on tour after Margaret River, but with the fight requalification coming down to this event, no one below the top 10 line was truly safe.

 

 

The round of 32 was run yesterday at overhead Main Break—a notoriously challenging wave that has plagued some of the world’s best surfers over the years. One person it hasn’t plagued is John John Florence, who has made the finals at four out of the past six events in Margaret River. John John continued his dominance yesterday, posting the highest heat total of the event so far with a 17.93 in round one, then backing it up with the second-highest heat total in the round of 32. Florence is swell on his way to another big result out west, and it will be exciting to see what he can do if the event shifts to the backup venue at The Box.

On the other side of the spectrum was Kelly Slater, 11-time world champion and the greatest competitor surfing has ever seen. Now well over 50 years old, Slater has been on tour for more than three decades, his only break being a two-year hiatus that he took halfway through his career to get some much-needed rest from the tour. In all those years, Slater has never failed to requalify for the world tour—but the unthinkable happened yesterday when he was just barely beaten by young Australian Liam O’Brien. With that loss, Slater officially missed the mid-year cutoff and was eliminated from the world tour for the first time in his career. What he decides to do now is anyone’s guess. He has been hinting at retirement for years and would have to surf the Challenger Series this fall to requalify for tour. Could this be the year he actually hangs up the competitor’s jersey for good?

In the meantime, the women’s cutoff race is still wide open, as is the fight for the win at the Margaret River Pro. Expect to see the finals bracket run sometime in the next few days—our money is on John John!