'Ever folded your foot backwards?': Kelly Slater suffers brutal break in South Africa

 abc.net.au  7/17/2017 11:36:31 PM   ABC South West WA By Anthony Pancia

Updated July 18, 2017 10:15:56

Champion US surfer Kelly Slater has been forced to withdraw from the World Surf League event at Jeffreys Bay after sustaining a gruesome injury while free-surfing prior to his second-round heat.

The 11-time world champion was carried from the water after being struck by his own board resulting in at least two broken bones in his right foot, a sensation Slater described as like "smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can".

Slater posted on Instagram shortly after that he was anticipating surgery and a six-week "holiday" was in order and that he was "not looking forward to [the] 30-hour flight home before surgery."

"Sorta feels like I'm giving birth out of my foot right now!" he wrote.

"It sucks but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world everyday that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things," he added.

"Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I'll make the best of my time off."

The injury caps a lacklustre year for the 45-year-old, who waivered on returning to competition for the 2017 season, only to commit and state he was aiming for a 12th world title.

It has also fuelled speculation it may prompt his retirement, but prominent surf historian Matt Warshaw said he could not see Slater's career ending this way.

"Kelly isn't going to hobble off stage left on a broken foot — not a chance. He'll do the rehab, come back and leave on his own terms," Warshaw told the ABC.

"It would be a mistake for Kelly to declare that he's going for a world title in the 2018 the way he did this year. At this point it's hard to argue against the idea that, for all his talent, he's got a serious blind spot in terms of what he is and is not capable of over the course of a year-long campaign.

"But he's too great a surfer, too much a champion to take this injury as an invitation to retire."

Australian surfers Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson and defending Jeffreys Bay champion Mick Fanning all had strong starts to competition and progressed to the third round.

Brazil's Filipe Toledo scored a perfect 10-point ride for a lengthy tube ride against US surfer, Kanoa Igarashi.

Topics: surfing, sport, south-africa

First posted July 18, 2017 09:36:31

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