PADDLEBOARDING: Noosa's six-time reigning paddleboard world champion Jordan Mercer won't defend her crown, after being ruled out with injury.
The 23-year-old has succumbed to a fractured arm, while she has almost recovered from a broken foot which derailed her Ironwoman Series title defence earlier this year.
"I'm heartbroken over not being able to race in Hawaii,” she said.
"That event really and truly means a lot to me. On my competitive calendar it's the one I look forward to the most.”
Mercer has dominated the 51km Molokai2Oahu Paddleboard World Championships in recent years, winning the previous edition in 5hrs32min.
"It's going to be very strange not being over there.” she said.
"The race is a pretty big part of my life so it's going to be different sitting back and missing that whole journey and experience.”
She was determined to snare a seventh title later this month but her doctor advised her not too compete.
"I was paddling so well in my training and I thought the Molokai was the light at the end of the tunnel after being out with the foot injury but it's not to be unfortunately,” she said.
"The specialist essentially made the call. It's in my best interests to take this time to recover so I can have many years to come with paddling and surf lifesaving.”
She said the fracture was likely sustained at the gym.
"I spent so much time on crutches and they (doctors) believe that has created a weakness in my arm and (while) doing exercise in the gym, it's believed I've injured it there,” she said.
"I tried my best to work through it and I didn't want to believe something was really bad...but a couple of weeks down the track I knew I had to get it checked out.”
A stress fracture in her ulna (forearm) was confirmed.
But Mercer remains optimistic.
Her foot, injured last year, is almost fully recovered and she is keen to race at the International Surfing Association World Paddleboard Championship at Denmark in September before contesting summer surf lifesaving events.
"In a couple of weeks I should be back paddling and swimming,” she said.
"I'm really happy with my foot. I've been working so hard to do everything I can to try and help it heal so it is nice to see that it's on track.
"It's definitely been challenging for me. It's something I'm not used to, being so out of sorts, but I've just been trying to remain positive and I have set my sights on some things that are worth working towards.
"I'm happy I have ISA to look forward to....(and) I'm really motivated to be able to do ironwoman racing again.”
Mercer won surf lifesaving's professional series in 2015/2016, following in her father Darren's footsteps.
Mercer is been keeping fit via cycling and alternate work-outs and is keeping busy with tertiary studies. She recently ran a nippers' clinic for young board paddlers.
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