Kelly Officially Wins His Eleventh ASP World Title
Today in the cold onshore winds of Ocean Beach, Slater claimed his eleventh world title by winning his Round 4 non-elimination heat against young Brazilians Miguel Pupo and Gabriel Medina. By advancing straight to the quarterfinals, Slater now has an insurmountable lead and the title race is officially over.
The morning was marred with unfavorable winds for the Ocean Beach sandbars, but the event ran just enough heats to finish Round 3 and start Round 4, giving Kelly a chance to nab the title that he thought he had three days ago. As far as the ASP miscalculations earlier in the week are concerned, Kelly seemed to be a good sport about the whole episode. “I was upset about it, but I also thought it was really funny,” Kelly said. “We all make mistakes.” Although they may not have been the most ideal circumstances for winning the title, the 2011 ASP World Champion has now officially been crowned. Click here to watch Kelly’s entire heat against Miguel and Gabriel, as well as Slater’s post-win interview.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is the fact that the 2 Brazilians he surfed against were 17 and 19 years old. Neither one was even born when Kelly won his first World Title, and their combined ages are less than Kelly’s current age of 39.
At the end of the heat, after the horn sounded, Kelly pulled into the best barrel ridden so far in the contest. To find a wave like that in those kind of conditions at Ocean Beach is almost miraculous. The man has a very special relationship with the ocean, no question about it.
Surfline has posted a wrap up of today’s action here. From the article, here is Kelly’s take on the wave I described above:
Slater’s last wave was just about as glorious as any trophy. First there was a, “No way he’s coming out of that thing!” by the crowd. Then, “No way! Insane!” Kelly’d found a wave that hit the sandbar properly. “After my heat, I got the best wave I’ve got out here by miles,” he laughed. “I probably would’ve got a ten on the thing. The wave was amazing. It was perfectly clean, and spit me out for some reason.”
Local filmmaker Powerlines Productions has posted a video of Kelly’s heat and the amazing post-heat barrel on YouTube.