Kelly Slater Wins 11th ASP World Title in San Francisco
To get a full grasp on Kelly Slater’s 11th world title, made official today in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Search Pro at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, consider the perspective of Owen Wright, the man currently ranked second behind Slater on tour.
“I just remember chasing him up the beach when I was like six or seven years old,” said Wright, the 21-year-old year-old Australian from New South Wales. “I was just this tiny little grom chasing after him at a contest. Now I’m running down the beach next to him, wanting to go out and beat him. That’s a pretty surreal experience.”
There’s a clock in play for all world-class athletes, from distance runners to the greats of the NBA, but Slater’s has its own mechanism. It’s more of a time machine. As soon as that horn sounds, signaling
the start of heat, Slater magically becomes 20 years old again.
Which is kind of cool, considering that he’s 39.
No matter who you’d care to name - Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, Roger Federer - nobody was the unquestioned king of his sport for two decades. Slater won his first world title in 1992, and No. 11 signifies an even 20 years.
Ocean Beach produced truly epic conditions today for day 2 of the Rip Curl Search Pro. For the first time in 20 years, Kelly wins his title on US mainland soil (or water). This is a truly amazing achievement in sports and this record may never be broken. The next most winning surfer in ASP Tour history has a mere 4 titles, which was considered a superhuman record prior to the current reign of King Kelly. Perhaps his perspective on aging has something to do with it.
As for his age, Slater offered an interesting perspective. “People always ask me about that,” he said. “I’ll be 40 in a couple of months. To me, it’s literally just a number. You see people 100 years old and you can’t believe they lived that long, but to them, it’s not baffling. They took care of themselves. To me, I don’t see why at 50 I can’t be in better shape than right now. I think I’m gonna be.”
Watch the event live or replay the video by visiting the official Rip Curl Event site