Well just in case you were wondering who was going to step up and challenge a certain Kelly Slater for his 11th world title, you can stop wondering now. For the third time in a row Owen Wright has clawed his way into the final to face Ke11y.
Back in August the Great One was able out-master Owen in gaping Teahupoo pits at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, only to have Owen take Kelly out to hoist the Quik Pro trophy and a cool $300K (largest prize purse in surfing history) two weeks later.
Wednesday at Lower Trestles, the stars aligned and the two met once again in the final, and it would be Kelly who would claim the rubber match in nail-biting fashion. The pair are now standing alone atop the ratings, with Kelly in the drivers seat.
The day started with a peaking swell and excellent conditions, and much like yesterday, there was no shortage of close calls and drama to be had. Julian Wilson has been a standout all event, showing an incredible range of maneuvers with shocking consistency. Today was arguably his best performances yet, until he was stuck with a paddling interference against Owen Wright on the first wave of their semifinal clash, the much anticipated Owen-Wilson heat.
With no priority established, and a head high peak creeping into the lineup, they both dash for position. Owen refused to back down, forcing Julian to turn around and flick out the back to avoid a full speed man-hug with Owen, who would actually end up tearing the wave to pieces for a 7.67. The judges gave Julian the interference and with that, his campaign was over.
After Tuesday’s controversial heat loss to Parko, which Julian immediately appealed, to no avail, he was able to avenge the loss by trouncing Joel in their quarterfinal heat this morning.
Needless to say I doubt we’ll see Julian buying beers for any of the ASP judges anytime soon. On the bright side, he seems to have found his confidence and competitive stride for the most important leg of the season, and seems to have ditched the puka shell necklace once and for all. The kid is looking unstoppable right now.
Much like their last two finals, today’s Slater-Wright final did not disappoint in any way.
The nearly 40 year old Slater just seems to be getting better and better, beating generation after generation of opponents, progressing more as he ages like some sort of tanned Benjamin Button. Are we going to find out that Slater is actually a 3000 year old vampire that has been surfing alone for centuries (or possibly with Nicholas Cage), waiting for us humans to pick up surfing so he can revolutionize the sport and make us all look silly for trying to beat him, eventually shaving his head daily to create the illusion of aging and not arouse any public suspicion?
Probably not, but if it turns out we need a silver spike to stop him from winning world titles, I told you so.
Ke11y now holds a 5000 point lead over Owen, with the rest of the tour trailing somewhere far behind. The next event, the Quik Pro France begins October 4th.
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES FINAL RESULT:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 16.74
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.40 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 16.57
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.74 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.04
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.77 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.50
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.60 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.07
QF 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.67
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.23 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.93
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.74 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.80
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.27 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.97
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.23 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.27
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.67 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.37
CURRENT ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 10 (After Hurley Pro at Trestles)
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 44,950 pts.
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 39,900
3 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 35,400
4 – Adriano de Souza (BRA)31950
5 – Josh Kerr (AUS)30,800
6 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 29,250
7 – Mick Fanning (AUS)28,200
8 – Jordy Smith (ZAF)27,500
9 – Jeremy Flores (FRA)23,700
10 – Michel Bourez (PYF) 22,250