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News provided by ASP World Tour on 21 May 2006

Ending days of speculation surrounding his movements, Kelly Slater (USA) has withdrawn from the fourth event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour – the Globe WCT Fiji.

Sighting that the rib cartilage injury he sustained last week in tour event number three held at Teahupoo Tahiti will inhibit him from performing at his best, Slater has concluded he requires time out of the water effective immediately.

He has been undergoing treatment since being almost literally dragged from the ocean during the semifinal at Teahupoo and instantly there were concerns that he would miss this event due to the severity of the damage.

His initial statements indicated that he would be unable to compete yet he left it until today, the first day of the official waiting period, before sending a message to ASP officials staing that he is unfit to compete.

He was desperately hoping that he would recover sufficiently in time to compete in the event given that the waves here in Fiji are some of the best on the 11-stop tour.

“The Globe WCT Fiji is one of the great events on the tour each year,” said Slater in an earlier statement. “And I really don’t want to miss it if I can possibly help it. But it’s a long season, and if I’m not right, an extended break makes sense.

"Fiji can get pretty big waves – you get some serious thrashings at Cloudbreak, so I wouldn’t want to be feeling like this and do more internal damage.”

Replacing Slater in the 48-man lineup – which is made up of the top 45 in the world plus three wildcards – is Australian Koby Abberton who at the time of going to press is boarding a plane to Fiji from his home town of Sydney.

Abberton is a seasoned big-wave charger and ASP World Qualifying Series competitor and will certainly cause a stir in the Globe WCT Fiji given the forecast is indicating that a solid swell is on the way.

Abberton has taken out numerous events held in big waves throughout his career and is noted for an incredibly gutsy display in 1998 where he claimed victory at huge Teahupoo – the wave which broke Slater – regarded as the world’s most ferocious wave.


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