The injuries just keep stacking up at the Fiji Pro.
Stop 5 will be missing Stephanie Gilmore again, due to a broken arm. She already missed competing in Rio last month and therefore misses out on her seventh world title. She's currently no. 4 in the rankings, but at this rate, it doesn't look like she'll have much of a chance to get any higher without being exceptional at every event after this.
Michel Bourez missed Rio too, with a broken hand and vertebra sustained while free surfing Teahupo’o. He was replaced by fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz, who will again replace Bourez in Fiji. He still has four weeks of recovery to look forward to.
The great news for Muniz’ fans is that he's been selected by the Commisioner’s Office as WSL Injury Replacement No.1, after finishing just one spot short of requalification at the end of 2014. He’ll replace any Tour surfer who's injure, so that's plenty of opportunities for him to surge up the rankings.
There’s more disappointment for fans as John John Florence had to withdraw after rolling his ankle in Rio last month. He’ll be replaced by either Garrett Parkes, Aritz Aranburu or Tomas Hermes. These guys were next in line on the 2014 QS/CT end-of-year rankings, but they're still relatively unknown, so it will be interesting to see if they get past the quarters.
Meanwhile, Brett Simpson has withdrawn too, after injuring himself at Huntington. Aussie Jay Davies will replace him. At Margies, he was able to defeat some huge CT names - Gabriel Medina, Mick Fanning and Jeremy Flores.
Let's see if the replacements and wild cards can out-surf the big guns this time.