Clean 3 – 5 foot waves graced the banks at Ocean Beach today as the world’s best surfers kicked off the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco.
Event No. 10 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series, the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco will play a pivotal role in determining the 2011 ASP World Champion.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10 time ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Search champion, looked sharp this morning while opening his campaign in San Francisco, navigating through several barrels and releasing committed turns to earn a 16.03 heat total out of a possible 20 and a Round 1 heat victory.
“I’m stoked because I went out last night and the surf was tough, the waves were real flat and I had boots and gloves and a hood so that I could go back and feel more comfortable out there today with less rubber on,” Slater said. “The conditions today were a lot more fun. The water is like J’bay and I thought it’d be colder but it’s not too bad.”
Slater, the current frontrunner on the 2011 ASP World Title Race, needs to take a 9th place finish (or advance through one more heat) at the Rip Curl Pro Search to secure his unprecedented 11th crown.
“I’m going to try and just be relaxed about it because it’s a situation where you could feel tense in and want to get it over with it,” Slater said. “The reality of it is the other guys have to win both events with my last heat win so the pressure is on them. I just need to catch four good waves in this event to win the title.”