GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater is out of the season-opening Quiksilver Pro in the World Surf League.
Slater, returning from a lengthy layoff because of broken right foot, placed last in his three-man opening heat and was last again in his second-round elimination heat Thursday in the event which marks the start of Olympic qualifying for surfing.
The veteran American dug in the rail on his first wave and failed to catch his two rivals in his elimination heat.
Slater appeared upset with the conditions and with some of his scores, throwing up his hands at times while in the water. He needed a score of 8.07 on his final wave to move into second place in the heat, but with 30 seconds left, missed out entirely.
“I didn’t get many good waves in the end ... it’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Slater, who is bow planning to travel early to Bells Beach on the southern Australian coast for the second event of the series. “The last three days something has come over me and I just felt the pressure. I need to break out of that, I better get hungrier.”
Australian Owen Wright won the heat with 13.73 points from Peterson Crisanto of Brazil, who both advanced. Slater, who would be 48 if he qualified for the U.S. team for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, where surfing will debut on the program, finished with 10.63.
Poor surfing conditions at the regular Snapper Rocks venue caused by a recent cyclone meant competition had to be move around the point to Duranbah for a second straight day.
The Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro are the first elite events where men and women will receive equal prize money.
Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore advanced after the first round in the women’s event.
Reigning men’s series champion Gabriel Medina advanced directly to the third round by winning his first-round heat on Wednesday. Defending Quiksilver Pro champion Julian Wilson moved into the third round by finishing second in his three-man elimination heat on Thursday.
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