The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco, part of the 2011 ASP World Title Series, will bring the world’s best surfers to Northern California with the ASP Top 34 doing battle at Ocean Beach.
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The penultimate stop of the 2011 ASP Dream Tour season, the contest could be the deciding event of the 2011 ASP World Title.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10 times World Surf Champion and current World No. 1, is just two heat wins away from clinching a historic 11th title, needing to finish ninth or better at the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco to end this season’s race.
“Being this close doesn’t change my approach too much,” Slater said. “I have to ride four waves as well as I can against probably a really good wildcard. The approach doesn’t change because of the situation. The approach got me to this place and I’ll stay in the same head space as much as possible.”
Despite missing July’s South Africa event and being challenged by a new field of opponents, Slater has had an impressive run in 2011, posting three victories (Gold Coast, Tahiti, Trestles) as well as two Runner-Up finishes (New York, Portugal) – a performance, in part, he attributes to the relief of clinching his 10th ASP World Title last season.
“I think last year’s title made this one easier to a degree,” Slater said. “It took pressure off of me for sure. The 10 th was a far more talked about and conscious situation. Everyone wanted to know what I was thinking about 10. That was a much more difficult monkey to have to not think about at all. Now I enjoy competing with a bit less distraction.”
The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco will be Slater’s inaugural surfing experience in the ‘City by the Bay’ and the reigning World Champion was succinct in his expectations of the venue.
“I expect cold and paddling,” Slater said.
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 5 (Heading into Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 58,150 pts
2. Owen Wright (AUS) 45,650 pts
3. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,450 pts
4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 41,100 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 40,950 pts