After beginning the week in an epic trough with the death of Andy Irons, surfing ended the week with what will go down as one of its biggest moments in history. Kelly Slater scored one of his best performances with back-to-back nine-plus scoring waves at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico to lock in an historic tenth ASP title.
Here are the details:
SOMEWHERE, Porta Del Sol/Puerto Rico (Saturday, November 6, 2010) –Kelly Slater (USA), 38, has made sporting history today, claiming an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title at Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico.
With his advancement out of the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico over Adriano de Souza (BRA), 23, Slater amassed enough points to move out of reach remaining contender Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, and collect the 2010 ASP World Title, culminating a 20-year effort.
"I don't know, it just happened," Slater said. "If you look at the heat, Adriano (De Souza) passed one up and let me have it and that was a good wave and that was pretty much it a few minutes into the heat. I just want to send my condolences to Irons family. It's been a week of extremes for me. If it wasn't for Andy (Irons) there is no way I'd be here in this position right now. I don't really know what else to say, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family."
Andy Irons (HAW), 32, former three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World Tour competitor, tragically passed away last Tuesday in transit back home from Puerto Rico. The iconic Hawaiian's unexpected passing has been a devastating blow to the international sporting community.
"I had the 3rd at Teahupoo and Jordy got the 17th, at the time I really wanted to win that event and pull into the lead, but having Andy (Irons) win that contest was really special," Slater said. "I surfed a last heat with him this year and to get past everybody at Trestles, I know the level is pretty much going through the roof every year. The stuff that Dane (Reynolds) and Jordy (Smith) pull off at every event, everyone is trying to catch on and their strike rate is so high, their consistency is so high. When I got into the lead after Trestles, I didn't really feel that confident going into France. It was a wave-catching contest at first, but then it got big and I thought 'this is my zone, this is where I do well and this is what I love.' The points all started coming together just right for me. To get past Jordy (Smith) in the Final in Portugal, I knew something special was happening."
2010 ASP World Tour Results:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast:Equal 9th
RipCurl Pro Bells Beach:WIN
Billabong Santa Catarina Pro:Runner-UP
BillabongPro Jeffreys Bay:Equal 17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti:Equal 3rd
Hurley Pro at Trestles:WIN
Quiksilver Pro France:Runner-Up
Rip Curl Pro Portugal:WIN
Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico:TBD
Billabong Pipeline Masters:TBD
"I decided to go for 10 (ASP World Titles) when a friend asked me if I'd decided to win 10 yet after a few contests into this year," Slater said. "I told him 'yeah, okay.' That was right before Brazil. At that point I knew I could do it, but Taj (Burrow) looked good to start the year, but to me it looked like Jordy (Smith) was the guy early on. Mick (Fanning) had a lot of ninths and he knows he's not going to win a title with ninths. Besides Jordy's 17th, his worst result was the Quarters, so I knew there was no room for error. These last five events have really come together. I don't really know how it came together the way it did."
Slater, who spent a large portion of his youth in Puerto Rico, had a huge support crew of family and friends on hand to witness the incredible feat as well as the support of the tens of thousands in attendance on the beach.
"It's nice to win this in Puerto Rico with my friends and family here," Slater said. "I haven't been surfing here on this part of the island since '88 and I used to come here a lot. This was like a second home to me. It was like my little Hawaii. I used to come here in the winter and I have a lot of good friends from here. It's the closest event ever to my home, so it feels like home."
The Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico is being webcast LIVE via http://live.ripcurl.com
The Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico will be televised LIVE in Australia on FUEL TV. For more information, check out www.foxsports.com.au/fueltv