The Hawaiian athlete "got into a bad surfing accident and didn’t make it," his daughter announced on Instagram.
Close to 140 surfers braved the frigid water at the 14th annual Christmas Eve "Surfing Santas" festival at Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast.
The startling image was captured during a Southern California wave-riding contest.
At 14, he won the gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama.
An Australian official said there's "no chance" Slater will be allowed into the country to compete without a COVID vaccination.
Hawaii's Carissa Moore was one of two surfers to win the first-ever Olympic gold medals for surfing. Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold for the men's division.
“I just think (it’s) not fair for me to blow a lifetime opportunity,” Italian surfer Angelo Bonomelli said. “There is some negligence.”
Surfers from around the world appear to defy gravity and buoyancy to stun the judges on the waves.
Ethnic Hawaiians lament that surfing and their identity have been culturally appropriated by white outsiders who now stand to benefit from the sport the most.