For the second year running, a knee injury looks likely to ruin John John Florence's World Surf League title bid.
The American, the world No.1 after winning two of five events this year, has pulled out of the next leg of the tour at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa after rupturing his ACL during the Rio Pro last month.
"Unfortunately, in Brazil I ruptured my ACL. I'll be pulling out of J-Bay and likely the rest of the CT season," the two-time world champion said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
"I'm opting for surgery so I can be 100 per cent next year. I'm excited for this new adventure and everything I will learn along the way."
Florence returned to competitive surfing at the season-opening Gold Coast Pro in April after being sidelined for the back half of 2018 with a knee injury.
The 26-year-old then moved back into the tour leader's yellow jersey with victory at Bells Beach. A second win at the Margaret River Pro at the start of June put him firmly in the hunt for a third world title.
Florence withdrew from the Rio event ahead of a quarter-final match-up with Jordy Smith after injuring himself the day before.
South Africa's Smith went on to lose to Brazil's Filipe Toledo in the final.
Florence's withdrawal means world No.2-ranked American Kolohe Andino will have a chance to move to the top of the rankings at Jeffreys Bay with that event window opening on July 9.
Toledo and Smith are also within striking distance of the world No.1 ranking.
Last year's tour runner-up Julian Wilson is the highest-ranked Australian heading into the J-Bay Open, in ninth on the championship table.