Imagine it’s 1992, a young Kelly Slater has just won his first ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) title. Fast-forward through two decades of history-making and you’ll find yourself at the scene of his 50th title.
Slater, 40, the reigning 11-time World Champion toppled 31-year-old Joel Parkinson in the final of the Hurley Pro in San Clemente, CA to win his 50th ASP WCT title.
In the last day of event 6 of 10 on the ASP World Tour, Lower Trestles put on clean three-five foot waves. Leading up to the final, Parkinson was the in-form surfer, posting high nines and consistently combo-ing his opponents throughout the early rounds.
But Slater switched to a four-fin “quad” board in the last two heats and that proved to be the difference. You could see the change as his carves were gashing away the lips of the long-riding rights, which he favored all day.
“I know I went out there feeling like I didn’t have anything to lose because Parko [Joel Parkinson] was the form guy”, said Slater. [source: ASPWorldTour.com]
It is Slater’s third win in a row at the Hurley Pro and he takes home the $105,000 paycheck. Slater exhibited the pump and drive of an 18-year-old all week at the popular Southern Californian wave.
He has the balance of a master and knows the oceans across the world as good as any local. “I got my first win as a professional here, and now to win No. 50, it’s something special”, said Slater. [source: ESPN.com]
The paddle to the championships wasn’t easy for Slater. Unfortunately he was on the wrong end of an interference call with Julian Wilson in Round 4 that rattled him even during the last day. With no priority in the three-man heats, it proved a dogfight to catch a wave.
“It sucks,” said Kelly “They’re using a three-man priority format on the boogie boarding tour, so we might take a look at implementing that next year.” [source: ESPN.com]
The world title race is heating up after Slater’s victory over Parko. It is setting up for a nail-biting finish to the year. Heading into the next two events in Europe, veterans Slater (third) and Parkinson (second) are chasing current world No. 1 Mick Fanning.
Kelly kept his chances alive at winning a 12th World Championship after defeating Fanning in the semifinals. All three are in great form and if it continues the title could still be anyone’s heading into Pipeline in December.
11 World Championships and now 50 ASP WCT Titles. Kelly Slater is further implementing himself in surfing immortality. So that poses the question—is he the greatest athlete of all time?
-The entire event is available on-demand at: http://www.hurley.com/hurleypro/dvr/dvr.cfm