Gilmore out of Rio Pro surfing event

Stephanie Gilmore's world surfing championship defence is on life support with the Australian pulling out of next week's Rio Pro in Brazil.

Gilmore was forced to withdraw at last month's Margaret River Pro in Western Australia after injuring her knee during a free surf on a lay day.

Scans revealed the 27-year-old had multiple hairline fractures around the knee joint, some bone bruising around her kneecap and associated tendinitis.

While the injury didn't stop Gilmore dazzling at the prestigious Met Gala in New York earlier this week, it has sidelined her for the World Surf League (WSL) event which is scheduled to start on Sunday (Monday AEST).

WSL deputy commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer confirmed Gilmore will be replaced by Sunshine Coast surfer Keely Andrew for the Rio event.

Andrew will compete as a wildcard after earning back-up status for the tour due to her qualifying position in 2014.

With only 10 stops on the women's tour, Gilmore cannot afford to miss many more events in her bid to equal Layne Beachley's seven women's titles.

Gilmore is already 8700 ranking points behind Hawaiian Carissa Moore after the two-time world champion won the season's two opening events and finished runner-up in WA.

Andrew, 20, heads to Brazil on the back of a good win in the recent qualifying series event in New Zealand where she beat tour regular Coco Ho in the final.

"I am really excited to have been given this opportunity and can hopefully get a lot out of the experience," Andrew told the Sunshine Coast Daily.

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