Kelly Slater will see how the rest of the season pans out before making a call on his legendary surfing career and a possible tilt at the 2020 Olympics.
Slater, 47, was pleased with reaching the Rip Curl Pro quarter-finals on Saturday at Bells Beach, but added he is off the pace after 18 months of foot injuries.
The American doubts one of the current stars will eclipse his record of 11 world titles, noting the likes of Rip Curl Pro winner John John Florence, current world champion Gabriel Medina and fellow Brazilian Filipe Toledo are evenly matched and will keep taking the crown from each other.
After his upset quarter-final loss to Australian wildcard Ryan Callinan, Slater remained non-committal about his World Surf League future.
— Rip Curl (@ripcurl) April 26, 2019
Slater has won the Rip Curl Pro four times and there was a strong sense over the past few days that this was his competition swan song at Bells Beach.
“I’m just not definitive with that,” he said.
“Everyone wants an announcement or something – maybe that’s not the way it goes.
“I will see how this year goes.”
Then there is the possible lure of surfing’s Olympics debut next year in Tokyo.
A major problem there is that Slater must build up his world ranking to make the American team.
He is currently well down the rankings because of the long layoff following his broken foot in 2017 and a ‘turf toe’ injury last year on the same foot.
Slater said it would make sense to remain on the world tour next season if he went for the Olympics, but again he wouldn’t commit.
“I feel like the best surfer is determined by our world title, not the Olympics,” he said.
“But the Olympics would be something special, probably for surfing, but especially for whoever wins the gold medal.”