When it comes to competing in Australia, Kelly Slater has been warned he has "no chance of getting into the country" without being vaccinated, despite the World Surf League (WSL) not making Covid jabs mandatory.
The surfing legend has made no secret of the fact that he is against getting the jab, often using his social media platform to have his say on the matter.
Now the 11-time world champion has been told it will be practically impossible for him to enter Australian shores to compete in the upcoming WSL events if he remains unvaxxed.
"I reckon he knows the rules. It doesn't matter whether you're a surfer, or a tennis player, a tourist or anyone else, those are the rules. They apply to everyone," federal sports minister Richard Colbeck told The Age.
"I don't like the chances of him competing in Victoria, and I'd hate to think of what the chances were of him competing in Western Australia."
Upon hearing the news of Slater's status, Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie also chimed in.
"You might want to tell Kelly Slater we are not the only country putting our foot down on this," Lambie told Today.
"These sports people need to realise most countries over the next few months, that is where it is going. Unless you are double-vaxxed and lining up for your booster, you ain't coming. That happened last week to another sports star."
Australia plays host to some of the most iconic surf venues on the tour, including the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and the Margaret River Pro, which are both held in April.
Despite initially appearing to roll over for the Australian Open, it seems Australia is now standing firm on its Covid-19 vaccine mandates for travelling athletes - just ask Novak Djokovic.
As an unvaccinated sports star, it appears Slater is now in the same boat as the world No.1 tennis player, who recently made headlines when he was deported from the country for arriving Down Under without the jab.
Djokovic's case - which including everything from falsified visas, alleged Covid breaches, must-do interviews, vaccine exemptions, court hearings, cryptic social media statements - left many people divided with some slamming the Serbian star while others threw their support behind him.
It turns out Slater fell into the latter group.
"Maybe Stockholm Syndrome can now change its name to Melbourne/Australia syndrome," Slater posted on social media when discussing Djokovic.
"It's sad to see the celebrated division by the 'virtuous' vaccinated. If you're vaccinated why are you concerned/worried about anyone else's status... unless, of course, it doesn't protect you?
"So much brainwashed hatred in people's hearts regardless of vax status."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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