Seven-time Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour champion, Kelly Slater (USA), faces a battle against time to compete at the Globe WCT Fiji due to commence this coming Sunday, 21 May.
Slater, while competing in the third tour event last week at Teahupoo, Tahiti, landed wrongly on his surfboard after executing a highly critical manoeuvre in the semi finals and has seriously aggravated a lingering rib injury
The painful injury could not only hamper his performance levels if he decides to surf but could get much worse if he has another accident.
The defending Globe WCT Fiji champion is currently in California under the care of Dr Warren Kramer and is having MRI scans done to check the extent of the damage caused to cartilage surrounding his ribs.
The results should be known within a day or two, at which time Kelly will make a decision about his participation in the Fiji event.
As he is comfortably sitting in number one on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour ratings after wins at the first two events of the 2006 season, plus the third last week, Slater is wary that further injuring himself could prove costly for an all out assault on an eighth world crown.
He indicated that he will not make a decision on competing until the last possible moment.
“The Globe WCT Fiji is one of the great events on the tour each year, said Slater. “And I really don’t want to miss it if I can possibly help it. But it’s a long season, and if I’m not right, an extended break makes sense, Kelly said.
Lurking in the back of Slater’s mind is the charge of tour rookie Bobby Martinez (USA), who is sitting in second place on the rating after he scored the win in Tahiti and a third in the first event of the year held on Australia’s Gold Coast.
If Slater withdraws from the event it will open the door for the youngster to close the gap, particularly since the goofyfooter is incredible in hollow left hand waves which will be present at the famed Fijian locations of Cloudbreak and Restaurants.
* The 2006 Globe WCT Fiji will take place in the tropical waters off the islands of Tavarua and Namotu from Sunday 21 May through to 2 June.
* The two breaks used for the event are known as Cloudbreak and Restaurants and are regularly hyped as two of the world’s best left-hand reef breaks.
* Past Champs include:
2005: Kelly Slater (USA)
2004: Damien Hobgood (USA)
2003: Andy Irons (HAW)
2002: Michael Lowe (AUS)
2000: Luke Egan (AUS)
1999: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
* The Globe WCT Fiji will be webcast live at www.globefiji.comwith wild camera angles, highlights and replays, weather and scoring information, direct viewer interaction, celebrity guests, interviews and more.
*Globe and the ASP will be supplying full media services for TV via international satellite, news and print, radio and webcast purposes during the event.
* For further information during the event, details of satellite feeds, or interview requests with leading surfers, please contact the media team listed below.
* Regular press releases and the event media guide will be available by request via e-mail or at www.globefiji.com
* Top 10 ratings after event #3 on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour:
1. Kelly Slater (USA)3276
2. Bobby Martinez (USA) 2676
3. Taylor Knox (USA)2208
4. Andy Irons (HAW)2064
5. Taj Burrow (AUS)2042
5. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 2042
7. Damien Hobgood (USA) 1742
7. Bruce Irons (HAW)1742
9. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 1667
10. Greg Emslie (ZAF)1610