Despite an impressive performance at the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro, 11x World Champion, and Lemoore local, Kelly Slater probably won’t be competing at the ‘CT’s European tour stops. Many thought the Surf Ranch Pro would be Slater’s return to competing full-time on the ‘CT after breaking his foot at J-bay last year. But when asked by Rosy Hodge during a post-run interview today if he’d be competing on the European tour leg, Slater announced, "I'm not planning on going to Europe. At this point, we'll see how it goes."
Before Hodge could ask a follow-up question about whether or not the decision was due to his injury, Slater quickly deflected the attention to Owen Wright, who was on yet another perfect Surf Ranch peeler.
It’s unclear why Slater is not planning on competing in the two European contests–his foot looked fine this weekend and his third-place finish behind an unstoppable Gabriel Medina, and on-fire Filipe Toledo, proved The King can keep-up with the top seeds–in the pool, and in the eyes of the judges, at least. Slater has stated his intentions to qualify for the USA Olympic Surfing Team for the 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan, and since there’s absolutely no chance of him winning the title this year, is it possible he’s training for that goal?
Maybe Slater will return to competition, for the third time of this year, at the Pipe Masters.