Kelly Slater: he broke his right foot in two places | Photo: WSL

Kelly Slater has broken his right foot while free surfing at Jeffreys Bay, in South Africa.

The 11-time world surfing champion pulled into a closeout barrel, and his surfboard slammed back into his foot while underwater breaking his foot in two places.

Slater was immediately forced to withdraw from the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay and, after medical examination, he might need between four and six months to make a full recovery.

"It sucks, but so many people deal with such horrible things around this world every day that a broken foot is pretty minor in the scheme of things. Sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. I'll make the best of my time off," noted Kelly Slater.

Kelly Slater's broken foot: he will need between four to six months to make a full recovery | Photo: Kelly Slater

"The challenge will be healing with awareness, patience and good health. Hopefully, I'll have some tips to share from my process for any future mishaps you might have. And huge thanks to all my friends and acquaintances who assisted me yesterday."

The most successful pro surfer of all time says this is the worst injury of his career. Kelly Slater is now 20th on the World Championship Tour leaderboard, and will certainly miss out three of his favorite events: Tahiti, Trestles, and Hossegor.

Hopefully, he will return to competition for Peniche or the Pipeline Masters, but he may not finish the season in the top 22. Kelly Slater, 45, will have to reflect on whether to have another go in 2018 (with a WSL wildcard), or hang the leash.