Ominous Shadow for an unprecedented achievement
He’s done it. Again. Kelly Slater is, for the tenth time in his career, the ASP World Champion. Kelly was deemed by the judges to have decimated the Porta Del Sol lineup more fully than Brazilian Adriano de Souza in the quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search, Puerto Rico, thus culminating enough points to solidify […]
He’s done it. Again. Kelly Slater is, for the tenth time in his career, the ASP World Champion. Kelly was deemed by the judges to have decimated the Porta Del Sol lineup more fully than Brazilian Adriano de Souza in the quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search, Puerto Rico, thus culminating enough points to solidify his lead over the only remaining threat, Jordy Smith. Further asserting his dominance (as if he needed to), Kelly then went on to win the entire event, convincingly ousting Australian Bede Durbidge in the final with a combined two-wave score of 18.77 out of a possible 20.
Kelly dedicated his win to Andy Irons: “I just want to send my condolences to Irons family. It’s been a week of extremes for me. If it wasn’t for Andy there is no way I’d be here in this position right now. I don’t really know what else to say, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family.”
The newly-(re)crowned champ also gave a brief overview of how the last couple o’ months’ve been for him: “I had the third at Teahupoo and Jordy got the 17th, at the time I really wanted to win that event and pull into the lead, but having Andy win that contest was really special. I surfed a last heat with him this year and to get past everybody at Trestles, I know the level is pretty much going through the roof every year. The stuff that Dane and Jordy pull off at every event, everyone is trying to catch on and their strike rate is so high, their consistency is so high. When I got into the lead after Trestles, I didn’t really feel that confident going into France. It was a wave-catching contest at first, but then it got big and I thought ‘this is my zone, this is where I do well and this is what I love.’ The points all started coming together just right for me. To get past Jordy in the Final in Portugal, I knew something special was happening.”
As is fast-becoming a reoccurring trend, the final rounds of the contest was host to some of the best contest performances seen to date. Dane Reynolds was especially immense, but fell to Taj Burrow in the quarters, thanks to what was described as one of the deepest tubes evert ridden at that spot. The validity or basis of this claim is unclear.
“The wave was crazy,” Burrow said. “It came right and the start of the heat and as I pulled under the lip, the whole thing just engulfed me. I couldn’t see anything and then I felt myself push over the foam ball and come out. When I came out, the wave still had a really nice wall on it so I was able to click in a few turns. When you draw someone like Dane you have to go full throttle the whole time.”
Teebs’ good luck didn’t last, with the West-Australian falling to the near-unstoppable Slater in the semis.
Tahitian Michel Bourez saw his best ASP result so far, taking down 20-year-old Owen Wright and the ever-lethal Jordy Smith. “I’m disappointed but very happy with my result,” Bourez said. “It’s my best result of my career. It’s been an emotional week. I don’t think Andy has been far from anyone’s minds at all. It’s so sad, but I think we all surfed for him and everyone was ripping the past two days.”
Fatherhood seems to be treating Bede Durbidge well – the Australian defeated Mick Fanning in the quarters before ousting Tahitian Michel Bourez in the semis. Despite a solid performance in the final, it was Trestles all over again with Kelly’s unmatched prowess ultimately proving too much.
“I felt good going into the final and like I was building momentum all the way through but Kelly stopped me with that 10,” Durbidge said. “It’s still a fantastic way to come back though. I missed the last stop in Portugal to be there for the birth of my daughter, Willow, and I can’t wait to get home to her and my wife. I miss them both. We were all surfing for Andy this week.” – Elliot Struck
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