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Billabong Pro J-Bay: Kelly Slater Wins…. Again

Kelly Slater Wins Billabong Pro JBayWhile we are only about half-way through the 2008 ASP World Tour, we are already becoming witnesses to one of the all-time great performances throughout the course of the surfing year. Eight-time world champion Kelly Slater defeated last year’s champ Mick Fanning in the final of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay earlier today for his fourth victory at the prestigious South African break.

Slater has now won 4 out of the first 5 events in 2008, and with the victory at J-Bay he has all but essentially sealed his record 9th world title. A gracious Slater had this to say following his 38th tour victory – “I didn’t realize I was going to be overwhelmed by it, but I haven’t been in this position before, at this point of the year, with this many wins, there are great things going on in my life so I’m just trying to soak it up and be appreciative.”

The morning started off with classic Jeffreys Bay conditions keeping the 4-6 ft swell in almost perfect shape. However, after just a few heats in the morning, the wind turned onshore for the quarters, semis, and final. Both Slater and Fanning had issues adjusting to the bump and crumble that was being offered up. “It was really challenging,” Slater said. “You really have to change your frame of mind because we were looking at waves the other day where we were getting 30-45 second rides and doing six to eight maneuvers and now we’re looking at waves where if you get three moves it’s a good score. It’s really hard to change your perception on how you are going to surf a wave. I didn’t really catch on until the very end of that heat when I realized I could get a three move wave and probably seal it.” Fanning appeared uncharacteristically sloppy, even falling on waves that held opportunities for high scores. While the Billabong broadcast team wondered aloud if it was equipment issues, an obviously Fanning quickly put that all to rest. “I surfed like an idiot,” Fanning said. “I had the opportunity to win the whole thing and I fell and I don’t know why. I don’t know what happened, I just had a shocker. I was feeling great, I just couldn’t stay on my board.”

Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Kelly Slater

With the rest of the Top 44 now with deflated hopes for a world championship, it will be intriguing to see how the year plays out. Aside from Fanning’s bid to repeat, Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson, and Andy Irons all came into the year with very high aspirations to come out on top. They are all very aware of the difficult, if not impossible, task that now lies in front of them. “Kelly wins another final, enough said, unbelievable.” Burrow said. “The door is really closing as far as I can see it. He’s got a ridiculous amount of keepers now so… how many events left? Not enough!”

It sure does appear that way. Congratulations Kelly Slater, winner of the 2008 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay!

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Posted by Shaun on Thursday, July 17th, 2008 in Surfing.

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4 Responses to “Billabong Pro J-Bay: Kelly Slater Wins…. Again”

  • tripleoverhead Says:

    gee this is shaping up to be a real exciting year on tour…. zzzzz

  • Cliff Says:

    Plain and simple….Kelly is killing it!!

  • Jammer Says:

    Congrats Kelly!!
    He often gets compared to other sport greats like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, etc. but in my opinion he stands above them.
    Think about it this way, in basketball the hoop is always at 10ft (which frustrates me because why can’t pros make more free-throws), the ball the same size, the court doesn’t change, etc. Now take Golf, a little more like surfing in that it is played by individuals not teams and conditions (weather, grass heights, course design, etc.) vary more then basketball but one can play the same game of golf pretty much everyday without having to wait for mother nature to produce, the physical strength needed is minimal (my grandpa can still play a mean game) and the danger level is nowhere close to surfing (when was the last time someone got seriously hurt or killed from playing golf?) Now take the skill level of the WCT this year, I would say as good as ever and Kelly has won 4 out of 5 events, which means minus a first round second or so, he has only lost one heat this year. Basketball doesn’t require that kind of perfection, with best of 5 or 7 game series, and even golf is your score over 3 or 4 days, and this is going to be Kelly’s 9th WORLD title.
    Now I know there will be some of you out there that could try to argue against this but this is just my opinion: Kelly Slater is the greatest all-round (skill, competivness, strength, longevity, etc.) athlete ever, so far.
    Here’s to number 10!!!
    p.s. this comment could have been written with better facts to support my claim but I did stay up past 3am watching the contest last night so cut me some slack

  • Southland Tales Says:

    This year could be a snoozer … or it could be the most exciting year ever, to see how many more events, Slade can win this year! It’s absolutely ridiculous, isn’t it?

    When I watched the final heats today, you can see the frustration everyone was having with the deteriorating conditions – except Slater. He definitely looked as if he thought he was back in Florida.

    Champions, man, champions.

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