It's hard to imagine ever tiring of seeing a big, bold number 'one' next to your name. That, alone, would turn you into the world's most confident human. No wonder Kelly always seems so comfortable. Photo: ASP/Cestari
Kelly Slater Wins 11th ASP World Title
“The waves at Snapper wake me up enough for motivation but I’d love to get another win at the Quiksilver Pro,” said Kelly Slater at the start of 2011. “Either a great way to go out or to start another campaign. I can’t honestly answer that (my plans for the year) right now. I’ve thought about doing a farewell aloha tour and saying bye to the tour and I’ve thought about retiring after this event for real.”
“Sometimes I look back at everything and I’m pretty stoked. It’s been a long time, I just love it. I don’t always love the competition side of things and I just love to surf and love to get in the water. It’s a blessing to surf here alone. All of these people don’t get to surf Snapper with no one out. I want to keep making heats so I don’t have to free-surf as much. I don’t really know about my plans this year. I guess I’ve put it out there that I might retire or it’s been put out there by other people. I guess people didn’t expect that I would get a title this late in my career and I don’t know what’s possible.”
Reflecting now, it's funny to think that Robert Kelly Slater was so uncertain of his plans at the beginning of this year. Or, perhaps he was certain? Coyness is one of his favourite plays, after all. But whatever the path he took, this morning at the Rip Curl Search Pro, San Francisco on the one year anniversary of Andy Irons' death, Kelly paddled out at Ocean Beach against Dan Ross, rode a 7.53 and a 7.60 and, as he's done so many times before, made surfing history. This time, with an 11th world title. Below is a collection of moments from the road to his 11th crowning. It's been a good year for Kelly.
[caption id="attachment_6279" align="aligncenter" width="620" caption=""This is for my son, this is for my uncle's kid, we surfed together in 2003, this is for my facebook profile, I vacation in Cocoa Beach every year since 1985..." When Kelly gets his eye in on delivering to his fans, he is mauled. He goes from smile to perfect cursive to smile with aplomb. There ain't no better PR than that. Photo: ASP/Kirstin"][/caption]
“I have a love/hate thing with Bells and I’ve said that for years. I’ve had great experiences there, I’ve won four Bells. In the past 19 years of going there, sometimes it’s treated me well and sometimes it’s been the most frustrating stop on tour for me. I think it’s about going there with the right mental approach.”
“Kelly has been my hero since I even heard about surfing. He is a living legend and to be competing against him at this level is more than a dream come true. He has pushed me more than any other surfer and I owe him a lot." – Adrian De Souza
[caption id="attachment_6236" align="aligncenter" width="620" caption="Raw power at Cloudbreak. The day before this swell, Stab asked Kelly "How big's it gonna get?" Big enough that most humans won't want to know about it. As it turned out, he was one of them. This was one of the few waves he caught. Photos: Glenn Duffus"][/caption]
"These are the best conditions the Teahupoo event has ever run in. It’s been a phenomenal week." – Kelly Slater
“I knew that wave I let Kelly have was only a one-manoeuvre wave. I let him have it because I didn’t think there was an eight on that wave, and then Kelly did the best air of his life, on the last wave of the heat, against me. I’m still having trouble putting it into words. It was freakish." – Taj Burrow
“It’s been an amazing event,” Slater said. “I can’t remember a time when we’ve had so many 9s and high 8s and we’ve all just got barrelled off our heads for three days straight. It’s been pretty amazing."
“Of course when that opportunity (the ASP World Title) arises, you don’t pass it up. I fight focusing and competing for all these years in my head, but when I’m there, I know what to do and a title chance is obviously a good goal." – Kelly Slater