There’s something about the fall. On the ASP tour it’s most concentrate number of contests with the Boost Mobile Pro Trestles, Quicksilver Pro France (Hossegor), Billabong Pro Mundaka, and Hang Loose Pro Santa Catarina, Brazil all being run off in quick succession. Incredibly, Taj Burrow actually has a chance at catching Kelly Slater for the world title (assuming Kelly implodes and Taj turns it on for the last couple of events). But watching this video of Kelly at the Boost Mobile Pro makes it hard to argue that he’s not the best surfer in the world.
Kelly took second place behind Adrian “Ace ” Buchan at the Quicksilver Pro France (more on the finals at 5ones.com). So far this year, he’s won 5 out of 8 events and taken second twice. Still Taj is 1800 points behind (competitors are awarded 1200 points for finishing first in an event) with three events left. Mundaka and Brazil are wildcard events because of inconsistent conditions meaning there’s no particular advantage to Kelly Slater but he’s always done well at Pipeline (the last event on the WCT tour in December). So Taj get over losing at Trestles and lock down a couple of wins here if you want any chance at winning the World Title. Official ASP rankings below. Oh and by the way, this will be Kelly’s 9th World Title.
Quicksilver Pro event on the beaches of Hossegor kicks off. Round one and two have already been held and they’re waiting for the surf to build again for round three. Andy Irons made it through the first round only to be a no-show for his heat for round two. How can a pro surfer not show up for his heat is incredible to me, but he’s Andy Irons. Seems like he’s just rolled over to Slater and given up on competing this year. He’s been pretty mediocre on the tour this year (ASP rankings). Check out the slideshow at Transworld Surf.
Here’s an insane slideshow of photos from the competition and the final of the Boost Mobile Pro at Trestles. Photos were taken by San Diego photographer, Nathan Petty. Check them out. Click the link to the full screen slideshow. (Photo credit Nathan Petty: NathanPetty.com)
Talk on the ASP is that Taj got robbed by the judges in the final heat at Trestles. Being there at the heat, it definitely felt that the judges were pulling for Kelly. Taj scored two high waves (9.0 and 9.63) and had combo’ed Kelly with 20 minutes left (it should be noted that the judges pre-heat decided to extend the usual 30 minute heat to 40 minutes – a decision that ended up being crucial for Kelly). I was there at the heat and thought that Taj’s second wave and Kelly’s first wave (9.70) were both over scored. I thought Kelly’s final wave at the horn (9.2) was deserved though. It was a mediocre wave that Kelly surfed insanely well. Anyway, see for your self: here’s the interview with the head ASP judge and the video of the final heat on Surfline (link).
“The variety played a major part in the outcome of the final. Where Taj was surfing with speed and lots of turns, Kelly was surfing on a wave that did not allow a lot to offer. He turned this wave into exceptional surfing with full rail carving turns in the critical sections with variety on each section of the wave. Over the years it has been the surfers themselves who have stated that ALL guys on tour can surf the perfect set waves but it takes real talent to take off on an average looking wave and destroy the thing for what it’s worth. This was one area the judges who were working on the final felt strongly about when I spoke with them at the after-final meeting and wrap up.”
The finals for the Boost Mobile Pro were held today at Lowers, Trestles – San Clemente, CA. The week has been perfect for the contest with a un size 4-6 ft. South running all week. The conditions were a little more inconsistent today, but still plenty of overhead waves. Slater was down early in the 40 minute heat (lengthened because of inconsistent conditions) with Taj Burrow scoring early with a 9.6 and a 9.1. In fact, it looked like Kelly wasn’t going to be able to pull anything off with his early waves not scoring above an 8. Then the Slater magic happened. He scored a 9.7 with about 20 minutes remaining in the heat and then finished with a 9.2 in the last seconds. Taj sat dejected in the line-up as Kelly finished the wave right in front of the judges tower and walked onto the rocks to screams of the crowd.
Kelly hasn’t wavered from first place from when he took it with the first contest of the year at Snapper. He’s been unstoppable, winning 5 of the first 7 events! Brazil is up next, I don’t think anyone can catch him. Check the ASP World Tour rankings here.
The photos are all from today final heat between Kelly and Taj. With about 10 minutes remaining Kelly looking a bit desperate pulled into a smaller wave and tried to boost a big air immediately and flailed. Rare to see the champ flub it so badly. Check out the full frame slideshow here.
Ok, so what, you’ve won a record 8 world titles and are well on your way to a ninth. You hang courtside in LA at the NBA finals and date a few super-models. But can you pull into a barrel, come out and and switch feet before going into the next barrel section all in a wave you’ve never surfed before in a WCT contest?! Oh, you can…
Kelly Slater has had an OK start to the 2008 ASP World Tour by winning 3 of 4 contests so far (Snapper, Bells, and Fiji). He won in insane conditions at Fiji (results). He’s now of course in 1st place in the Foster’s ASP rankings leading Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge (huh?), and Adriano de Souza followed by C.J., Taj, Mick, and Andy. What this all means is that Kelly is slaying the tour and on target for his 9th world title!!! Bruce Irons is planning this to be last year on the WCT tour opting instead to surf whenever and wherever he wants and still get sponsored. Seems like a no brainer for Bruce, the free-surfer path of guys like Jamie O’brien, Ry Craike, and Dave Rastovich is well-established and the envy of every surfer in the world.
It’s April, which means the surf sucks everywhere in the North Hemisphere… Well, that is except for Scotland?!
Thurso, Scotland is host of the ASP O’Neill Highland Open (link), which wouldn’t have normally raised anyone’s eyebrows especially in April, except that they managed to score some epic pounding waves. Continue reading for more photos.