Woz charter flight touches down this morning, missing two top-ranked surfers
At 8am this morning, the World Surf League's chartered plane will touch down at Sydney Airport with all occupants heading straight for quarantine. The plane, originally booked for 108 surfers, support staff, and Woz officials, is now two bodies lighter.
On Friday, 11-time champ Kelly Slater pulled the pin on the flight.
“I’ve been struggling with recent and ongoing injuries in both ankles since the Pipe Masters event," said the GOAT via Instagram, "and I had a separate injury in my right hip (and maybe previously broken foot) this past week which has left me unable to surf. It’s a tough one for me because I love Australia so much and miss the time I usually get to spend there each year."
"I’ll just have to use the time to get myself up to a level physically I never really got back to after my broken foot (in Jeffreys Bay in 2017) and get myself out of constant pain. Good luck to all my fellow competitors and I hope to see everyone back on tour soon.”
Then on the weekend, Women's world number two, Caroline Marks got a tap on the shoulder following a pre-flight COVID test.
"Some very unfortunate news, I tested positive for COVID-19," said Marks, "I will not be making the charter flight to Austrailia tonight. I am following all the COVID protocols and do expect to be competing when I’m cleared. I want to wish all the WSL competitors and staff a safe flight."
Marks will almost certainly miss Newcastle, the first event of the Australian leg, and any subsequent showing will depend on securing a flight to Australia - itself a logistical improbabilty - and rejoining the Wozzle Bubble.
Once the surfers touch down this morning they'll immediately go into fourteen day quarantine, which ends ten days before the Newcastle contest.