I don't know why I'm bothering with this; the WSL is neglecting this event like an unattractive third child until the Founders Cup has spewed forth its final, mushy left. There's not much to go by as yet...
Update: we have a draw and most of the wildcard details. Also, the KS wave pool has already been superseded as the best artificial wave in the world. That was quick, no?
Joel Parkinson - There has been no official reasons given for Parko's withdrawal, but after some jetski shenanigans in 2015, and zika virus fears in 2016, he finished well with a 5th in 2017. Maybe he's tired from the wave pool, maybe he's visiting Waco, or maybe he's just easing his way into retirement. We can only guess.
Kelly Slater - Kelly has made quite the habit of skipping Brazil, and he has told BeachGrit that he intends to continue the fine tradition in 2018. Not that his foot looks too sore.
Mick Fanning - do we have to type this all year? Yes, he's surfing in the Founders Cup right now, no he won't be surfing Rio. We'll let you know when he's back, OK? Until then, he's replaced by Freestyle (see below).
Caio Ibelli - after injuring his foot at Margaret River, Caio will be our of action for a little while yet.
Jeremy Flores - he's back after justifiably skipping Margies for the birth of his first child.
Michael February - MFeb will be replacing Mick Fanning for the remainder of the season.
Miguel Pupo - everyone's 3rd favourite Brazilian surfer will get another shot at a tour event as an injury replacement.
Mikey Wright - could Mikey just bypass the QS and get a 2019 spot on tour just from 2018 replacement spots? We hope so.
Wiggolly Dantas - Wiggolly is back, baby. Can he stir things up in an already agitated 2018 title race?
Alejo Muniz - currently leading the QS, Alejo was always a likely selection. Can he rekindle the form that got him a 5th here in 2012?
Trials Wildcards (TBC) - I'm not sure of the draw for this, but Deivid Silva and Jadson Andre are a good chance of getting a shot based on rankings/experience, while Bino Lopes has also qualified in the past as well.
Yeah, right. Like the WSL has bothered looking at this minor formality just yet. Watch this space for updates.
The draw is finally up. How good is it to see JJF vs Mikey Wright again so soon?
Much like the men's event, there has been little information so far. Courtney Conlogue did say that she was pulling out of the Founders Cup in the hope of making the Oi Rio Pro, but she is yet to confirm her spot.
Update: Courtney is out, with Pauline Ado set as the replacement instead of Macy Callaghan, perhaps as recompense for missing out on a spot in the European Team at the Founders Cup. Still no word on a wildcard: