Kelly Slater (USA), 39, has claimed a historic 11th ASP World Title by advancing out of Round 3 at the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco.
In pristine 3 – 5 foot peaks at Ocean Beach, Slater fought back to an inspired start from opponent Dan Ross (AUS), 28, to claim victory in the dying moments in front of a capacity crowd at Ocean Beach.
“It was a scrappy heat, I didn’t win it in the most effortless style,” Slater said. “I’ve had a lot of heats with Rossy (Dan Ross) this year, and he’s real dangerous with a little power so I knew he’d be dangerous and I was nowhere to be found in the beginning of that heat.
I was hunting those lefts and they were fading off I was thinking ‘why am I taking off on these things.’ I knew I had to get in on some of those rights. That wave had a nice open face and I thought it’d probably be just enough.”
After a banner year that witnessed the iconic Floridian make five of nine Finals (thus far) and post three wins, Slater seems to be surfing at the top of his game.
“This is pretty fabulous,” Slater said. “Two days ago in the afternoon it was chunky and small and didn’t look inviting at all. Yesterday was nice and today looks like a nice day in France. I don’t know, this hasn’t sunk in. I’ve been pretty stressed about it and I’m glad it’s over. It’s very fulfilling and there’s personal satisfaction. It feels real nice. I’ve dedicated my life to surfing and competing and to go a whole year and win a world title and have it pay off, it’s really fulfilling. To win on American soil is nice. Everyone’s been so cool and the locals have been so stoked.”
Kelly Slater’s 2011 ASP World Title Series Results:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: WINNER
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Equal 5th
Billabong Rio Pro: Equal 13th
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay: No Show
Billabong Pro Tahiti: WINNER
Quiksilver Pro New York: Runner-Up
Hurley Pro at Trestles: WINNER
Quiksilver Pro France: Equal 5th
Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Runner-UP
Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco: TBD
Billabong Pipeline Masters: TBD
With the 2011 ASP World Title sealed, Slater is now focused on performing in the event at hand, the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco.
“I’m refocusing on another win here,” Slater said. “I’ve accomplished the year goal. I definitely feel like I can go out and surf a lot more relaxed now. It’s really nice to win here in these conditions with so many people on the beach, I thought it’d be freezing cold and onshore and it’s been amazing.”
Having claimed his first ASP World Title in 1992 at the age of 20, Slater still boasts the record for the youngest-ever ASP World Title holder. Now at 39 years of age, Slater holds the record of being the oldest ASP World Champion ever, but was characteristically coy regarding any talk of retirement.