Kelly Slater Exits Early In Portugal

Find out why surfing’s biggest and best name had a rare early elimination at the Rip Curl Pro on Monday.

Ed Millerby Ed Miller

At 41-years-old, Kelly Slater might not have too many contests left in his career.  Sure, he’s won 11 world titles and 53 World Championship Tour events but is it time for him to hang it up?

Well, the Rip Curl Pro certainly might have made a case for retirement. 

Slater suffered an early second round elimination on Monday, but in his defense he did have a pretty good reason for it.  After several days of uncooperative weather, officials decided to put a halt on the event – which took place in Peniche, Portugal – for quite some time.  Once surfing resumed, it was clear Slater didn’t have it.  In the end, he was eliminated by wildcard Frederico Morais, as he pressed during his run, though he admitted he just wasn’t feeling it this time out.

“After surfing the tour for 20 years, sometimes it's hard to really care when the conditions are like this,” Slater admitted to ESPN. 

Just two heats later, action was called for the day – after major ASP implications.  There were world title hopes on the line from this event, leaving many to wonder just why they tried to force such an important contest.  Now Slater has to sit back and watch the potential change in standings – currently ranked seventh in the world – hoping to catch a break.

“If this week works out, great,” he added.  “If not, well Mick has been the great performer of the year. Obviously his results have been great at every event, it's hard to beat a guy like that.”

With one contest remaining, it appears that Slater will fail to capture surfing’s top honor for the second straight year.  While that might not seem like a big deal to some, for the Florida native it hasn’t occurred since he failed from 1999 until 2004.  He’s done it all in his 20 year career, having been both a trailblazer and a revitalizing presence, and we’re not quite ready to think Slater has lost his “mojo”.  We believe there’s one last championship run in him – and maybe we will see it next year!

Ed Miller is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty