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Is Andy Irons the Only One Who Can Catch Slater?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

kelly slater and andy ironsComing into the 2008 ASP World Tour there was quite a bit expected from Kauai’s Andy Irons. Following a disappointing 2007 campaign – at least according to the standard set by the 3x world champion – there were many who expected A.I. to come back to form and put himself into a viable position to regain a crown that fell upon the head of someone besides himself and Kelly Slater for the first time since the abbreviated 2001 tour.

He is currently sitting at 8th in the WCT rankings following the Australian and South Pacific legs of this year’s tour. While I’m sure there would be a Trestles line-up worth of surfers who would gladly take an 8th place ranking a third of the way through the year, this clearly isn’t good enough for a surfer who will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time greats both in and out of competitive surfing.

Andy’s frustration with his current position came to a head and was visible to all (actually, with the malfunctioning Globe webcast it may or may not have been all that visible….but that is another post in itself) with his antics throughout his loss to fellow Hawaiian Fred Patacchia. Between his boxing matches with the ocean, his punting his board away on kick-outs, and his eventual dropping in on Freddy P and picking up a last second interference he made it known that he is not at all happy about simply being ranked in the top 10. He wants it all, world title or bust. And to be honest, in my opinion he is the only surfer on tour who has any shot of keeping Slater from what many consider to be his inevitable 9th world championship.

How can that be? Well the simple fact that Andy has performed nowhere near to the level he is capable of is something he can look to as a positive. Yeah, he is in 8th and up against a seemingly impossible climb to reach Kelly, especially with Kelly appearing determined to end the whatever title hopes anyone else may dream of at the upcoming Billabong Pro J-Bay. But if Andy can somehow put himself anywhere near the top heading into the Hawaii stretch, he and he alone will be the only surfer able to pull off the miracle it will take to deny ‘the king.’ Of course the North Shore will have to cooperate and do the exact opposite of what it did last year in the form of swell.

I’m not sure Andy will have much of a chance if he’s forced to scrape up scores on meager waves. But if it does, and Andy is close and back to the form that has made him one of the most exciting surfers to watch and a living legend in his own right….Love him or hate him, he will be the only obstacle standing in the way of what looks to be clear path for Kelly Slater’s eventual crowning(again).

Posted in Surfing | 3 Comments »

Top 10 ASP World Tour Point Leaders Going Into Globe Pro Fiji

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

ASP World Tour Logo
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 2810 points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 2340 points
3. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 2318 points
4. Andy Irons (HAW) 2196 points
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 1989 points
6. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 1932 points
7. Taj Burrow (AUS) 1886 points
8. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 1874 points
9. Kai Otton (AUS) 1800 points
10. Dane Reynolds (USA) 1742 points

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Slater, Burrow, Durbidge, and Smith out at Billabong Pro

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

billabong pro manao drolletA lot of big names bowed out early at the Billabong Pro Tahiti today as Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Bede Durbidge, and Jordy Smith were all defeated in round 3 action at 4-6 foot Teahupoo.

Kelly Slater wasn’t looking too sharp again and was caught a couple times dropping in too deep, getting drilled in the head by one of the heaviest waves in the world. It didn’t matter though, as he suffered an early interference penalty and was literally surfing a heat he couldn’t possibly win. It seems there’s something about going up against local favorite Manoa Drollet that gets in Slater’s head, as he performed similarly when then two competed against each other in rd. 1 action. “This is just one of many events, you’re going to have throw-aways,” said Slater.

The highly anticipated matchup between Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds saw Smith go down as Dane was on absolute fire. If he continues to surf like he did in round three, Dane could possibly in serious contention for his first ever ‘CT victory, only three events into his rookie season. He was looking good. CJ Hobgood is another surfer to watch this event. He posted an amazing 19.64 in round three and has been looking awfully good here at ‘Chopes. Seems super-confident as well when you listen to his interviews and he no doubt wants to keep the Billabong Pro Tahiti title in the Hobgood family.

Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson – who are both tied for current world #6 – can definitely smell blood. All five surfers ahead of them exited early from this event and now they’ll definitely be taking advantage and looking to gain as many points as possible. Look to both of these guys to make a run at winning this event.

kelly slatertaj burrowteahupoojordy smithbede durbidgewct

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Kelly Slater: The New King of Beer

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

kelly slater beer canKelly Slater has long been known as the ‘king of surfing’. Is he now going after Budweiser for the title of ‘king of beer’ as well?

No, Not really. But in a tribute to the 8-times world champion, Anheuser Busch (the self proclaimed king-of-beer) distributed Hinano Beer, in association with Quiksilver, has launched a limited edition beer-can designed with the original “SL8R” Quiksilver logo. If you ask me, the can looks more like an energy drink than it does a beer can. But I digress, they are pretty cool none-the-less.

The tribute to ‘The King’ has limited distribution and will only be sold in Hawai’i. Pick these up now while they’re available and save yourself a can or two. Who knows, these may become valuable collector items one day in the surf world.

kelly slater

Posted in Surfing | 4 Comments »

Maybe We Should Ask Him One More Time

Monday, March 31st, 2008

After reading another interview with Kelly Slater it has almost become comical how similar each one starts off. Some form of “Will you be at the next event?” has been the lead-off question for each one and I wonder if we’ll ever get to a point where we just stop asking.

Finding out information this crucial is the obvious job of the press, but to what end? This question has been posed to Slater over and over and over again for years now and I have yet to see an interview where he provides an answer that brings any sort of clarity to the situation. His state of mind is admittedly perfect for where he is at in his career right now and his results at Snapper and Bell’s demonstrate just that.

I’m sure this will continue being the question-du-jour with each interview. Slater is obviously an enormous part of what makes the surfing-world go round and each sponsor for every event is praying that he shows up. As it continues to be the first thing that comes from each interviewers mouth we can look forward to more vague, nondescript answers from ‘The King’ time and time again.

Will he show up? Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. When you’re Kelly Slater, you can pretty much do what you want.

kelly slater

Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

2008 WCT Top 12: Kelly Slater On Top

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

After the first two events (Snapper Rocks and Bells) of the 2008 ASP World Tour, the top twelve are as follows -

1. Kelly Slater (USA)- 2400 pts.
2. Bede Durbidge (AUS)- 1908 pts.
3. Mick Fanning (AUS)- 1764 pts.
4. Taj Burrow (AUS)- 1476 pts.
4. Jeremy Flores (FRA)- 1476 pts.
6. Andy Irons (HAW)- 1464 pts.
6. Joel Parkinson (AUS)- 1464 pts.
8. Bobby Martinez (USA)- 1286 pts.
9. Kai Otton (AUS)- 1200 pts.
9. Adriano de Souza (BRA)- 1200 pts.
11. Adrian Buchan (AUS)- 1142 pts.
11. Dane Reynolds (USA)- 1142 pts.

Not a whole lot of surprises so far. The “Usual Suspects” are all in solid positions It’s good to see Dane up near the top after a couple of events. I thought his surfing exceeded everyone else’s at Bells and was just hit with bad luck against Taj in the quarters. Goofy’s like Bobby Martinez and “Ace” Buchan have to be pumped on flipping things around on Teahupoo’s left, especially the defending champ Martinez. Speaking of Teahupoo, Kelly Slater is going to have a tough time fooling anyone into thinking that there is even the slightest chance he won’t be there. I still think he will end up skipping a couple of events this year, this just won’t be one of them.

asp world tourkelly slaterwct

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Kelly Slater Adding Pages to His Legacy

Friday, March 28th, 2008

kelly slater wins at bells beachTwo WCT events. Two finals appearances. Two risky, unconventional moves. Two victories.

The legacy that Kelly Slater will leave behind once he does actually decided to hang it up for good, only continues to grow. Many may wonder if it is actually possible for someone who has dominated his sport the way Slater has for so many years to continue expanding on his legendary status. It is possible, and the first two events of 2008 have shown us why.

It’s not just that Kelly is winning. He ’s been doing that for many many years against a countless number of cdifferent ompetitors who line themselves up and give him their best shot. This year it’s the way that he is winning these events that is simply just mind-blowing.

(more…)

Posted in Surfing | 17 Comments »

Kelly Slater Rings the Bell: Back to Back Victories

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

kelly slater rip curl pro bells beachKelly Slater has done it…. again! By taking a big risk in the final and making the paddle a few hundred yards down the beach to Rincon he showed us once again why he is “The King.” Boosting a huge air with just minutes left in the heat, Kelly got the score he was chasing the entire heat. Bede Durbidge surfed as well as you could expect leading pretty much the entire heat, but Slater just wouldn’t be denied.

Congratulations Kelly Slater on winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach! We look forward to watching you in Tahiti.

rip curlasp world tourwctkelly slaterbede durbidge

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Slater, Reynolds On Fire

Monday, March 24th, 2008

rip curl pro bells beach 2008With the ASP Tour making the transition from Snapper Rocks to Bell’s Beach we have seen a big part of what makes the tour so great year after year. Each stop provides unique conditions that pose new challenges.

In the early rounds at Bell’s we have seen a stark contrast in conditions with those that presented themselves for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. We have gone from endless 2-4ft. waves giving competitors unlimited opportunities (Taj Burrow’s mind-blowing 13 turn wave at Snapper for example) to score, to thick, unruly, doubled up 6-8ft. walls with limited sections to open up on. Each wave at Bell’s may present only 2 or 3 opportunities to let it fly. The surfers that have taken advantage of that by placing themselves in the right section at the right time have found themselves with massive scores. As we await the completion of Round 3 at Bell’s, here are some of the story lines to keep an eye on-

Mick Fanning – By having to surf in the second round, the reigning world-champion found himself in a very unusual position. By posting a meager 7.24 score in Rd. 1, Fanning found himself in a spot he hasn’t been in for 15 events- Rd. 2. I was curious to see how he would perform as he spent the weekend leading up to Bell’s strapping on the proverbial ball and chain. He righted the ship in Rd. 2 however, and now faces a tough third round match-up with Bell’s local Troy Brooks.

Kelly Slater – This really goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – Kelly put on a clinic. The amount of speed he generated from his bottom turn on his 9.5 is almost unfathomable. “I didn’t do a whole lot on that wave,” Slater said. “I did one turn to start off with and then this section loomed up ahead of me that was crazy – it was so smooth, especially for what’s out there. I had a ton of speed and I held the bottom turn as long as I could and was able to get that carve in. It reminded me of the turn I had in the final against Parko (Joel Parkinson) that one year.” The 35 yr old 8-timer is aging like wine and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Dane Reynolds – Dane’s putting up a 9.73 in Rd. 2 was amazing. His humility and attitude when talking about the score even more so. “I got pretty lucky,” Reynolds said of his heat against Alves. “I went out there with a good, positive attitude feeling like the waves were going to come my way and they did. I didn’t see another wave out there that looked like the ones I got, so I was pretty fortunate.” With Jordy going out, this leaves Reynolds as the feature rookie at Bell’s and it will be intriguing to see if he can keep this level of performance going.

Bruce Irons – It’s hard to say what’s going on with Bruce. The bottom line is he is way too talented of a surfer to consistently be going out in the early rounds. He seemed particularly disinterested in his third round loss to Adrian Buchan at Snapper. How sick would it be to see him go the path of Jamie O’brien and just completely dedicate himself to the freestyle thing? Those two alone are surfing as progressively as any, and would serve as worthy pioneers for a new freestyle movement for surfing.

Here are the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs.Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 10: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 11: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 16: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)

asp world tourkelly slaterdane reynoldsbruce ironsrip curlmick fanning

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Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Kelly Slater Is In

Monday, March 17th, 2008

kelly slater wins quiksilver pro goldcoastAs I watched Tiger Woods pull off yet another amazing victory on the PGA Tour yesterday, I started thinking about what the tournaments are like when he isn’t playing. There are still great players playing great golf, but it just isn’t the same and everyone knows it.

As Tiger is to golf, Kelly is to surfing. As long as he is performing at his peak level, any victory by other surfers in an event that Slater doesn’t show up to will be followed with a “that’s great,but….”

It is for this reason that Kelly’s recent decision to participate in the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach should bring smiles to the faces of the surfing world and fellow competitors alike.

Despite winning the first event of the year at Snapper Rocks, Slater remained uncertain as to whether or not he would attend the Rip Curl Pro. After 14 years on tour, the 8-time ASP World Champion has been adamant that he will compete selectively in 2008 in order to pursue other interests. Slater even went as far as to call and officially withdraw his name from the event. Thats when Mother Nature came through. When told of the stellar forecast for the event Slater reconsidered. He stated the combination of world-class waves and pleas of many helped in his decision to show up, and we are all better off for that.

There were some pretty strong responses about wanting to see me there. So that, the swell, and some changes in my personal life and suddenly it was perfect timing for me to get away. All the signs pointed this direction so it seemed like the thing to do.

asp world tourrip curlkelly slaterwct

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