Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 38, has taken the ASP World Title ratings lead after an impressive runner-up finish to ASP Dream Tour rookie Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, at the third ASP World Title event of the year, the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina. Slater's second place finish saw him overtake early season ratings leader Taj Burrow (AUS), 31.
Surfers competing in the first five of the ASP World Title events on the 2010 calendar are out donate top performances in an effort to land within the top 32 on the ratings. After the fifth event of the season, the current 45 man format will be scalped to a 32-man field for the back half of the season.
Slater, who entered the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina fresh off of a win at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, continued to build momentum throughout the Brazilian event and his traditionally impressive form continued when he charged through this year's talented field to post back-to-back Final appearances while surpassing Burrow to take the ASP World Title No. 1 position.
“It definitely puts me in a good spot this season heading into Jeffreys (Bay) and Tahiti,” Slater said. “I think it’s been almost two years since I’ve led the rankings and yeah, it feels good. Obviously, you want to win every heat, but that said, I didn’t lose to a Mick (Fanning) or a Joel (Parkinson) or a Jordy (Smith) who are probably bigger threats in terms of the title. Jadson (Andre) winning here today is special and it’s probably something that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”
Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 24, matched his best result of the 2010 season with a solid third place finish after topping local Brazilian favorite Adriano de Souza (BRA), 23, with committed backside blow-tails in their Round 4 match-up. The progressive aerialist fell to eventual event winner, Andre, in their Semifinals bout and is currently rated equal sixth amongst the world's best surfers.
“Jadson (Andre) really found a rhythm early and I wasn’t able to get anything going until the end there,” Reynolds said. “I felt like I was pushing through the waves a bit too much. It’s okay though. Equal 3rd is a good result and it puts me in a comfortable position moving forward. I had a good time here in Brazil. I had some fun heats and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
2001 ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 30, also logged a solid result for his ASP World Title campaign after a relatively sluggish start to the season with a fifth place finish at the Billabong Pro. The Floridian goofy-footer usurped South African Travis Logie (ZAF), 30, and Australian Tom Whitaker (AUS), 30, before falling to fellow American, Reynolds, in the Quarterfinals. Hobgood now sits at 18th on the ASP World Title ratings.
Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, who is currently competing in his 17th year on the ASP Dream Tour, capitalized on his unmatched competitive experience to navigate through the tricky Brazilian conditions to take a fifth place result at the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina, pushing the Californian to 16th on the ASP World Title ratings.
The fourth ASP World Title event will be the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, which boasts a waiting period from July 15 through 25, 2010.