From: Danny Spyra
Nov 06, 2010
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Photo: ASP / Kirstin
Kelly Slater, moments after claiming his 10th ASP
World Title.Kelly Slater has done the unthinkable. The 38-year-old Cocoa Beach, FL, native won an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title today with his quarterfinal win over Adriano De Souza at the Rip Curl Pro Search in Porta Del Sol, Puerto Rico. With the heat victory, Slater amassed enough points to outstretch remaining contender Jordy Smith, and collect the 2010 ASP World Title, culminating a 20-year effort.
UPDATE: For good measure, Kelly wins the Rip Curl Pro Search event, scoring a perfect 10 in the final and combo-ing Bede Durbidge in an amazing display of talent.
"I feel relieved, honestly," says Kelly. "It's been the most stressful title I've ever had, because it's sort of an unknown place and you know at my age people say you shouldn't be doing this. And all the young guys are getting better and it's a challenge to believe in yourself and not believe what other people tell you. I know how good Jordy, Dane, Mick, Taj and all those guys are, and it's a marathon, you know? It's not one wave, it's not one maneuver, it's not one contest. It's a year-long thing and I know how to focus and it came together and I'm just so relieved."
In winning, Kelly was a gracious victor and dedicated his 10th title to long-time rival Andy Irons, who recently passed away. "If it wasn't for Andy I wouldn't be in this situation right now. So I really don't know what to say. I'm a little overwhelmed right now...I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family."
"Kelly's 10th World Title today will be remembered as one of the most important moments in surf history," said Bob McKnight, CEO of Quiksilver. "We are honored and proud to have been there to witness and support him over his entire, incredible professional career."
It was a long if not daunting journey for Kelly to win number 10. Slater vaulted into the 2010 season points lead mid-way through this year's ASP World Tour title race when he won the Hurley Pro at Trestles in September, taking out 27-year-old Bede Durbidge in flawless 6-foot waves. The win marked Kelly's 4th career title at historic Trestles, the site of his first professional win twenty years earlier.
After Trestles, the ASP World Tour continued on to the Quiksilver Pro France at Les Culs Nus Beach, where Kelly took second place to the reigning ASP World Champion, 29-year-old Australian Mick Fanning. Kelly's runner-up finish further extended his 2010 tour points lead as he delivered his first perfect 10 score of the season with a ridiculous freefall drop into a barrel during the semifinals.
If the ASP gave out rings for each world title,
Kelly could cover both hands.
In mid-October, the tour continued on to Portugal for the Rip Curl Pro, an event that would play a vital role in determining the 2010 World Champion. Slater stormed to another 1st place finish in Portugal, earning a career record 44th Elite Tour victory during some of the highest-performance surfing the world has ever seen. Slater struck stealthily in the final round at epic Supertubos, locking in solid backhand waves in shifting conditions and staving off a late charge from 22-year-old current ASP World #2 South African Jordy Smith.
Slater has not so much made as invented history. He is the youngest surfer (at age 20) and the oldest (at age 36) to win the ASP title. Slater has been crowned ASP World Champion a record 10 times, including 5 consecutive titles from 1994-1998. And today, he won the elusive number 10. The second-highest world title holder? Mark Richards at 4.
Best surfer ever? Without a doubt. But with ten world titles, a new conversation begins. Best athlete ever?
- Danny Spyra
Kelly Slater - 2010 ASP World Tour Results:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast:Equal 9th
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: WIN
Billabong Santa Catarina Pro: Runner-UP
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay: Equal 17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti: Equal 3rd
Hurley Pro at Trestles: WIN
Quiksilver Pro France: Runner-Up
Rip Curl Pro Portugal: WIN
Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico: WIN
Billabong Pipeline Masters: TBD