While practicing for the third stop on the 2012 World Championship Tour, Kelly Slater’s right heel suffered a 1/2 inch deep cut from a coral reef. The world’s top ranked surfer then dropped out of the Billabong Rio Pro noting, “I can pull into the tube but that’s about it. I can’t turn with the stitches in my heel, and with the small waves (in Rio de Janeiro). It’s probably going to turn into an air contest.”
The coral reef that punctured his right heel embedded small pieces, infecting the area and requiring additional procedures. Last week commentators at the Nike Lowers Pro marveled at Kelly’s (40) lack of injuries during his 22 years on tour, but this injury will not affect, nor was caused by the longevity of his career. Coral lacerations and resulting infections are a very common surf injury in the South Pacific. Last year, 19th ranked Matt Wilkinson was sidelined with Golden Staph Infections after bouncing off the reef at the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Kelly visited Bali with girlfriend Kalani Miller, where her swimwear company, Mikoh Swim is headquartered. While surfing the beaches around Bali, Slater tweeted about the polluted state of the beach posing major health risks to beach-goers.
Damien “Dooma” Fahrenfort snapped this picture of a wheelchair-bound Kelly leaving the Indonesia Airport wearing his favorite new travel gear from VSTR Clothing. Slater is back surfing (at right, barreled in Duranbah) and expects to recover in time for Tavarua, continuing his 12th world title campaign.