Kelly Slater’s Road To 10 In ‘10
Here’s what happened today as Kelly Slater won his historic 10th ASP World Title:
Kelly Slater gets mobbed wherever he goes, but when he came in from his quarterfinal 10th ASP World Title clinching victory against Adriano de Souza, Kelly got barraged by surf fans. He was overcome and in tears. In the post heat interview he said, “I want to dedicate this to Andy [Irons], and my family. I don’t know what to say, it just kind of hit me right now,” and then couldn’t talk for about five seconds after that, just completely overcome with emotion. It was the culmination of a lifetime of competitive surfing, a lifetime of goals and dreams. For a few seconds he was speechless, unguarded, you could see the moment washing over him.
Kelly started things off quick in the quarters by backdooring a barrel for a 9 and then followed that up with a longer double barrel for a 9.87 that makes Taj’s 10 in the previous heat look like a quick in-out. Kelly then followed that up with a clean, no-grab 360 air reverse. Five minutes into the heat Kelly has 18.87 points, while Adriano had yet to catch a wave. Slater played it perfectly, the heat was done after Kelly’s first two waves. 10.
With things pretty much wrapped up, barring an Adriano barrage of two 10s, Kelly high-fives Jordy (as the latter was paddling out for his matchup against Michel Bourez) while on a wave, because Jordy was in the next heat. And miraculously the sun comes out at the tail-end of Kelly’s heat.
Slater knew it, too. After getting spit out of the double barrel, he put his face in his hands for a second, as if he couldn’t believe he’d just nabbed a second near perfect ride. And then after pulling out of the whitewash at the end of the wave, he pointed to sky for a split second. Andy? His late father? It was one of those classic, unexplainable Slater moments. Who knows where they come from, but waves have come to Slater his whole life. Actual waves in the ocean when he needs them most, and metaphorical waves of success and good luck.
Here’s how he got to his 10th ASP World Title in 2010…
Count ‘em. 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010. That’s 10.
In a year when much needed changes were executed on the ASP World Tour, Kelly Slater set out from day one on what quickly began appearing as his swan song. There’s a central theme in all this for Kelly: 10. Just last week, Sal Masekela broke down how wonderful the number 10 is. One World Title is hard enough. Think of all the incredible surfers who don’t have one to their names: Dane Reynolds, Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, etc., etc.
At 38, Kelly needed no further assertion that he’s the greatest surfer to ever walk this Earth, but who hangs it up after nine without getting ten? And with the tragic passing of Andy Irons, Kelly dedicated this 10th title to AI saying, “If it wasn’t for Andy I wouldn’t even be in this position.”—Ryan Brower
Begin Kelly’s road to 10 in ’10 on the next page.