Should Kelly Slater have given his spot to Michael February if he knew he was a no show?
Kelly always finds a way to stay in the conversation. It’s in his nature. Despite, being drawn against Mick Fanning and Jesse Mendes is the last heat of round 1 at Snapper yesterday he was nowhere to be seen. But he was on everyone’s lips. A cheer squad even began chanting ‘Kelly’ when the hooter sounded for his heat.
He let slip he may turn up on Instagram (his preferred platform of communication), but remained uncommitted ensuring we’d be suspended in wonderment should he indeed slip on the singled and return to competition since breaking his foot at J-Bay.
I imagine he relishes being the puppet master at 43-years-old, having amassed 11 world title, 55 career victories, as well as being the youngest and oldest world champion in the sport’s history.
He was within the rules to forgo his round 1 heat according to Article 17.04 of the WSL's 2018 Rule Book which states:
“If a seeded Surfer advises the Commissioner’s Office that they are not going to attend their first round heat but will be present for their second round heat, their spot will be kept. If the Surfer does not check in at the paddle out time for their second round heat, a Replacement will be provided their spot in accordance with Article 9.01. If the Surfer fails to arrive on time for their second round heat, they will be subject to discipline as if they did not show."
Diehard South African and loyal Tracks correspondent, Craig Jarvis, asked on social media why Michael February didn’t get a start given Kelly’s absence from round 1. While many commentators were livid that Kelly didn’t just gift young South African (who will jump on tour when Mick retires at Bells) his spot, but instead keep the public in suspense – thus ensuring he was in the headlines on day one.
As is always the case, social media lit up with comments over Kelly’s decision to no show.
“Wtf. Most sports have rule in place that by the start of event first heat you either in or out. Mikey should have been in that heat. Anything could happen and he should have been given chance to win and go to round 3.”
“All to take the attention off Mick and his final snapper event. People I think would be surprised at some of the weird stuff this guy has done throughout his career especially to other surfers he competes against who he know has an edge over him. Sad attitude for a guy that has seemingly done it all.”
“Eleven titles notwithstanding, this was a shitty move by the GOAT, IMO. Give the shot to someone (Mikey February) who wants it and needs it!”
“Taking up space for someone elses dream!! move on Kelly!!”
As he has done all over the years Kelly has a way of making a ‘miraculous’ recovery. Whether he surfaces at Snapper is anyone’s guess. History says that he will. And he’ll surf out of this world. If not, you can guarantee he will be holding court on the broadcast and we’ll be eating out of the palm of his hand.
This was heartwarming to receive...Thank you to everyone supporting me on the Gold Coast all these years and wondering where I am right now as my heat begins at the #quikprogoldcoast2018. If round 2 men’s does not run tomorrow, I will most likely make it to surf my heat. If it runs tomorrow, @mikeyfebruary will take my spot and best of luck to him. I had surgery 3-1/2 weeks ago and am not quite out of the woodwork yet. I was looking forward to having what could be our final heat together with @mfanno but I’ve only surfed 4 times since my latest surgery while getting work on the foot and letting it heal. If I do show, I’m not expecting my best performance but with some wave luck and tubes, I’ll have some fun. Thanks to the @wsl for keeping me in the draw (as per the rules, of course). I look forward to competing again soon and back to full health hopefully in the coming months. ✌🏽 Video courtesy of @maya_beeeee