As you suspected he might, Kelly Slater has announced that he won’t be competing at this year’s Oi Rio Pro. He has cited “personal reasons” for his absence, an excuse which covers just about everything from a severe manic depressive episode to “can’t be arsed” via “thanks but I have my own wave and it’s much better, and full of nobody’s shit but my own”.
It’s not the first time he’s chosen to skip Brazil. In 2012, far nearer the peak of his powers, he missed the event with an injury of dubious validity and gifted eventual world champ Joel Parkinson a significant advantage in the rankings. Having won three events that year, he finished the season just 3,250 points away from his 12th world title.
Parko, incidentally, is also pulling out of Rio like he just found out she was ovulating — or perhaps performing some other bodily function. He has claimed a knee injury, his quarter-final finish at the Komune Bali Pro a few days ago notwithstanding. Owen Wright are Bede Durbidge are both still nursing very real injuries, while the absent Kai Otton has also cited personal reasons, and Taj Burrow, though due to compete in Fiji, is otherwise retired.
The complete list of replacements now reads as follows: Adam Melling, Stuart Kennedy, Sebastian Zietz, Leonardo Fioravanti, Dusty Payne, Bino Lopes and Lucas Silveira. They join fellow wildcards Deivid Silva, who as the highest ranked Brazilian on the QS got the call from the Commissioner’s office, and Marco Fernandez, winner of yesterday’s trials competition.