KELLY Slater has been forced to withdraw from the Tahiti Pro as he continues to battle a foot injury that he sustained in 2017.
The 11-time World Champion has undergone several surgeries in a bid to get back to competition but admits it still has not healed properly.
Australian Mikey Wright, who currently sits a No.9 in the world rankings, has accepted a spot as Slater’s replacement.
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Reigning two-time WSL Champion John John Florence also remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Bali earlier this year. Miguel Pupo will take his place in the event.
Filipe Toledo will head into the Tahiti Pro wearing the yellow leaders jersey as he holds a narrow lead over world No.2 Julian Wilson and last year’s event runner up and fellow Brazillian Gabriel Medina.
Tahiti has historically been a challenging event for Toledo which is why he has decided to head over to train at Teahupo’o for the last two weeks.
Forecasters are tipping swells will rapidly build today and peak on Tuesday before dropping off across the rest of next week.
Tahiti Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Wade Carmichael (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Mateia Hiquily (PYF)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Tago Dora (BRA), Tikanui Smith (PYF)
Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 12: Conner Coffin (USA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS)