Fifty ASP WCT Titles and 11 times World Champ, surprisingly there are still things that elude Kelly Slater’s trophy cabinet.
Yesterday Slater (USA) won his first Quiksilver Pro title in Hossegor France in 3-5 foot waves. His latest victory, and third for the season, moved the veteran closer to a 12th World title.
The final was a promoters dream as the semifinals went in favor of the Quiksilver boys, Slater and wild card Dane Reynolds.
With clean open barrels at La Graviere, if you could find a corner you were in position for a high score. Slater did just that. He all but engraved his name on the trophy after scoring 7.93 and 9.33 rides inside the first ten minutes of the forty-minute final.
Despite a late comeback, featuring more barrels and even some aerials, Slater’s 17.26 total was too much for Reynolds. It was the first time since 1992 that the 40-year-old has left France with a title.
“I had my first win here 20 years ago and that’s pretty crazy. Obviously when you go out there you want to win the heat, but I would have been really stoked if Dane [Reynolds] pulled a 10 out of his hat at the end of the heat, it would have been pretty rad,” said Slater. (source: ASPWorldTour.com)
For every closeout there was a 10-point barrel on the horizon. The waves were pumping and even after a 40 minute heat Kelly and Dane were not content just paddling in, they stuck around to sneak in one last tube.
Event wild card and popular free surfer, Dane Reynolds, was a standout the entire event. From his first heat he parked up in the barrels and showed no intention of leaving.
“That was a lot of fun out there. I just really like these waves and I was not really worried about competing or winning the heat,” said Reynolds. “Today was just perfect and fun. Today was a playground, you can’t ask for any better than that.” (Source: ASPWorldTour.com)
The prospect of near perfect conditions awaited the final four surfers as the semifinals got under way early Friday morning. In the first heat of the day Reynolds defeated tour rookie, John John Florence, by just 0.1 points. But the real drama was left for the second semifinal.
Facing an 8.17 to top Slater, Joel Parkinson landed the barrel he had been chasing with just seconds left. But the judges had seen bigger, only awarding a 6.83 and sending Slater through to another final.
Parko and Slater’s strong performances put a lot of pressure on Australian Mick Fanning, as the title race heats up. The ASP World title only takes your best eight results. Already with a few throw aways, Slater and Fanning can’t afford another poor finish as Joel Parkinson moves atop the standings.
Nineteen-year-old John John Florence is also back into contention and made the world title race even tighter after his 3rd place finish.
With valuable points available in the last three events the World Tour moves to Portugal next week for the Rip Curl Pro. After a pit stop in Santa Cruz for the Coldwater Classic during November, it will all likely culminate at Pipeline in mid-December with the title still on the line.
Check out all the action on demand at: http://quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2012/heat_review.en.html