The 47-year-old American surfer was edged for a spot on the US squad for surfing‘s Olympic debut in July of next year, after John John Florence returned from knee surgery to edge Slater for the last spot at an event in Hawaii earlier this month.
The 11-time world champion who became the youngest and also the oldest to win the crown, inspired a generation of surfing stars with a range of videos of his amazing efforts becoming must-see viewing for both fans and competitors.
Competing as an Olympian would be an epic farewell for a 40-year career than started at age eight in a youth event; however, instead he will be watching the event.
Slater told the New York Times, “I’m going to enjoy it as a spectator,” dismissing any notion that he would end his career soon after missing out on the Summer Games. He added that next year, everyone will continue to see him at the top of a wave.
Although Slater needed a victory at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s North Shore in order to secure the title, he lost in the semi-finals, leaving him ranked the world’s eighth but one spot behind 2016 and 2017 world champion Florence, who took the second US men’s team spot behind Kolohe Andino.
Florence, an Oahu North Shore 20 years younger than Slater, was a former protege of the surfing icon.
Florence said that Slater has been his idol since he was a child and the surfing is like a member of his family.
After having missed five of 11 tour events with a knee injury, this year, Florence returned for the season finale. However, he was eliminated in the Pipeline quarter-finals. He sealed his Olympic spot as Slater lost to Italo Ferreira from Brazil in the semis.