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Kelly Slater: shattering bones at J-Bay ‘like smashing foot with a big hammer’

The perils of surfing were again in evidence in South Africa on Monday when the 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater, sustained a badly broken foot in between rounds at the World Surf League’s Corona Open J-Bay.

Slater was free surfing at Boneyards when he pulled out of a barrel and was struck by his board, breaking two metatarsal bones in his right foot. The injury is expected to sideline him for six weeks, ruling him out of contention at Jeffrey’s Bay and the next stop of the tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Slater took to Instagram to reveal the extent of the injury and post an x-ray of his shattered foot. “Have you ever folded your entire foot backwards?” he wrote. “Kinda like smashing my foot with a big hammer as hard as I can. Sorta feels like I’m giving birth out of my foot right now.” He added that he expected to have to undergo surgery on his foot.

Slater had appeared in good form in beating Julian Wilson and Kanoa Igarashi in the opening round, to win through directly to round three. But it was Filipe Toledo who stole the show on his return from a ban for attempting to storm the judges’ tower in Rio, laying down the benchmark with a 9.63 ride followed by a perfect 10 to see off Igarashi in the second round.

The Brazilian was supposed to meet Slater next, but will now progress from the third round without having to take to the water.

Australia’s Wilson secured his safe passage from the second round with victory over compatriot Josh Kerr while Owen Wright beat Ethan Ewing to boost the number of Australians in the third round.

“It feels nice to get going and get that round two out of the way,” Wright said. “It was a scrappy heat but it played out to my advantage. I felt like it was going to be a slow one so I knew I needed to get going. When you don’t get the best wave of the heat it’s tough to come back.”

J-Bay title holder Mick Fanning, who famously survived an altogether different kind of peril in the South African water two years ago, is one of that number, and faces another Brazilian, Caio Ibelli.