Is it too early to talk about retirement?
So Slater is out of J'Bay, and probably out of Tahiti, and even Trestles if the diagnosis is right. Six weeks rest to mend two broken metatarsals, that puts him back in the water just before the Quiksilver Pro France, the third last stop on the Tour.
Considering the impact it'll have on his CT ratings is it too early to talk retirement?
God knows that wasn't the case when he scooped his tenth title and free retirement advice was proferred from all quarters. Yet lately such talk has become a DMZ for journalists and no-one, save for the ever-combative Steve Shearer, is ready to shoot straight.
But here's the deal as of today: Kelly Slater is sitting in 18th spot on the CT and he's already dropped one result - he didn't go to Brazil because of a back 'injury', though the sceptics among us will note that he didn't go last year either and he's admitted it's his least favourite stop on tour.
If he misses three more events he'll be counting just seven out of nine events - i.e dropping four events not two.
He's currently in 18th spot with 10,950 points, while there are five surfers sitting between 10,950 and 10,700. They'll all overtake him after this comp.
There's next to no chance of qualifying through the QS where he's currently 485th. So it's requalifiy through the CT or nothing for the GOAT, but he'll almost certainly have to come back from the injury and win an event to make the cut. A long shot, but Pipe is there so it's a possibility, though he'd likely also need a back up to get inside the cut based on past year's cut off marks.
It's not the first time such contingencies and questions have been thrown around during Slater's career, but in the past they've always been the odds of winning another title not surviving relagation
And what if he doesn't make the cut? What then...?
Would the WSL offer an injury wildcard allowing the then 46-year-old to go around again?
How is this gonna end..?