Kelly Slater unlikely to show at Billabong

Kelly Slater, January 2011

Kelly Slater, who says he has been surfing an ‘”un-missable swell” at Cloudbreak, Fiji, is cutting it close and is not likely to make it to this year’s Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay this weekend, or even at all.

Slater tweeted on Twitter thisweek: “If JBay holds for a week  I may make it… too tired to fly… honestly don’t know if I’ll make it to JBay.”

Meanwhile event organisers at the Billabong Pro J-Bay called competition off for today after a significant drop in swell overnight. In a report issued out organisers said: “Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, and Bobby Martinez (USA), 29, failed to show for yesterday’s Round 1 of competition. Should either surfer fail to show for Round 2, they will be replaced under a new ASP ruling. Durban’s Travis Logie, 32, is on standby to step in if either one of the surfers do not arrive while Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay), 20, will also get a start if both surfers miss their next heats.” 

And according to a report on www.wavescape.co.za Slater is already viable for a fine for not pitching for his heat yesterday. The website also quotes Slater tweeting on Twitter: “Ooops … just watched my heat but I’m getting barreled off my face in Fiji. No disrespect towards ASP or Billabong. Small surf;” “I’ve said a few times that if the event holds past Sunday I can make it. Otherwise I hope Travis gets my spot with new rule. Sorry bru.”

Also according to wavescape, Kelly has not officially withdrawn from the event. “If he is a no-show five minutes before the heat, then Travis will surf against Shaun Payne in Round 2 and Kelly will be out of the competition. Travis has another chance to get Bobby´s slot if Bobby does not pitch. If Travis takes Kelly’s slot, and Bobby does not show, one of the other wildcards will have the opportunity.

“At the end of the the day it all boils down to if Round 2 runs tomorrow. Travis Logie is already in Jeffreys Bay, ready to take up the slot and is no doubt frothing at the mouth. In the wake of this, lots of remarks are flying around, either condemming Kelly for being a bad sportsman or telling him to enjoy the surf in Fiji while he can.

” There are also thoughts of the widely advertised public signing at the Quiksilver shop scheduled for Saturday, with lots of his fans possibly being dissapointed by the King himself not showing up.

“To put things in perspective, Kelly would need to hire a fighter jet with a mid-air refeul to make it in time if Round 2 runs tomorrow,” wavescape points out.

 Event organisers will reconvene tomorrow morning (Sunday 17 July)  at 7 am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30 am start. However, if the waves are dismal Round 2 will be postponed yet again… so Kelly could still make it here.

The fourth stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season saw Round 1 completed yesterday in high-performance conditions, but today’s smaller surf has prompted event organizers to call a lay day in hopes of seeing improved conditions later in the event window, which runs until Sunday 24 July.

 “The surf has dropped overnight and we’ve called the event off for the day,” Rich Porta, ASP International Head Judge, said. “We’ll be monitoring the swell models very closely over the next few days in order to take advantage of the best conditions on offer.”

  Yesterday’s 12 winners of the three-man heats in Round 1 move directly into Round 3 while the 24 second and third place finishers have been reseeded into Round 2 which will be run when competition resumes.

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