Kelly Slater Claims Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico, 2010 ASP World Title
Pictured:Just a two hours after claiming his historic 10X ASP World Title, Kelly Slater (USA), 38, took down his 45th elite tour event, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico. Credit:© ASP / SCHOLTZ
SOMEWHERE, Porta Del Sol/Puerto Rico (Saturday, November 6, 2010) –Kelly Slater (USA), 38, newly-crowned 10-time ASP World Champion, has claimed his 45th elite tour event, taking down the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico over Bede Durbidge (AUS), 27, in pumping three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves in Porta Del Sol.
Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico has been an event of extremes.
Last Tuesday, the international sporting world was dealt a devastating blow with the tragic and unexpected loss of former three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World Tour competitor Andy Irons (HAW), 32.
After a somber two-day postponement of the event out of respect for Irons’s passing, the world’s best surfers roared back to life for two of the most high-performance days in surfing history.
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.”
Slater, who would go on to post an incredible 18.77 out of a possible 20 in the Final, secured the event’s second Perfect 10, exhibiting a masterful display of diversity and control in the rippable afternoon conditions.
“The wave that did it for me was that first one in the Quarterfinals against Adriano (de Souza),” Slater said. “That was the heat I needed to win to get the Title, and after that first wave, I felt this wave of relief. I still had to win the heat, but I was so relaxed and everything just started going my way. I was in the best possible headspace I could have been in for the rest of the day. This is a dream.”
Bede Durbidge (AUS), 27, missed the last ASP Dream Tour stop in Portugal to attend the birth of his first daughter, Willow, and today’s Runner-Up finish is a fitting return to form for the big natural-footer.
“I felt good going into the Final and like I was building momentum all the way through but Kelly (Slater) stopped me with that 10,” Durbidge said. “It’s still a fantastic way to come back though. I missed the last stop in Portugal to be there for the birth of my daughter, Willow, and I can’t wait to get home to her and my wife. I miss them both. We were all surfing for Andy (Irons) this week and everyone surfed amazing.”
Durbidge moves from ASP World No. 8 to ASP World No. 6 heading into the final stop in Hawaii.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, dispatched lethal rookie Owen Wright (AUS), 20, and current ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, this morning with his patented blend of non-compromising, power surfing. Although unable to overtake Durbidge in the Semifinals, today marks the best result for Bourez.
“Disappointed but very happy with my result,” Bourez said. “It’s my best result of my career. It’s been an emotional week. I don’t think Andy (Irons) has been far from anyone’s minds at all. It’s so sad, but I think we all surfed for him and everyone was ripping the past two days.”
Bourez’s Equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico moves the Tahitian from 10th to 9th on the ASP World Title Race rankings.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, was in sensational form in his Quarterfinal bout against Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, opening up with the first Perfect 10 of the event for one of the deepest barrels ever seen in Porta Del Sol through which he exited and proceeded detonate three solid turns before finishing.
“The wave was crazy,” Burrow said. “It came right and the start of the heat and as I pulled under the lip, the whole thing just engulfed me. I couldn’t see anything and then I felt myself push over the foam ball and come out. When I came out, the wave still had a really nice wall on it so I was able to click in a few turns. When you draw someone like Dane (Reynolds) you have to go full throttle the whole time.”
Burrow was unable to bypass Slater in the Semifinals, and will now focus his attentions on Hawaii.
The next stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour will be the Billabong Pipeline Masters from December 8 – 20, 2010.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.77
2 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.43
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1:Kelly Slater (USA) 16.34 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.87
SF 2:Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.87 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.36
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1:Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.50 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.17
QF 2:Kelly Slater (USA) 18.87 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.36
QF 3:Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.50 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10
QF 4:Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.97 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.47
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1:Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.70 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.40
Heat 2:Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.77 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.50
Heat 3:Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.20 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 9.73
Heat 4:Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.34 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 7.37
CURRENT ASP WORLD TITLE RACE TOP 5 (After Puerto Rico)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 66250 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 52250 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 44750 pts
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 40000 pts
5. Dane Reynolds (USA) 37250 pts