Kelly Slater wins record breaking eighth world surfing title
|Kelly Slater today clinched a record breaking eighth world surfing title when he defeated Joel Parkinson in the semi-finals of the Billabong Pro Mundaka in Spain to take an unassailable ratings lead with two events still to be run in the 2006 Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour.|
The 34 year-old from Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA, needed only to finish ahead of his four closest rivals in this event to secure his second successive world title since coming out of retirement in 2002.
“It’s not as much of a rush as winning the title last year,” commented an elated Slater after his semi-final victory, explaining “That came seven years after the last of my six titles in the nineties, and having come so close in 2003 (when he finished second to Andy Irons (Haw) in the closest title race in ASP history) to win the again in 2005 was the best.”
“I’ve really been relaxed about competing the whole of this year,” he said when asked what he attributed his victory to, adding “I nearly retired before Bells this year (the second of the 11 events) and then I tore a cartilage in my ribs while winning that event, and then got hit by my board in the exact same place in Tahiti, so I was out of the water for five weeks and missed Fiji.”
“That made me more focused, and I had the advantage of competing in one less event than the other guys but still had the ratings lead, so I could afford to relax and take things as they came.”
While Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, Slater’s road to the title at Mundaka was made easier when Parkinson took out fellow Australian Mick Fanning in their quarter-final match-up to reduce the contenders to three.
Then rookie Bobby Martinez (California) ended the hopes of former three-time world champion Andy Irons (Hawaii) and Aussie Dean Morrison stopped compatriot and current world #2 Taj Burrow in his tracks.
This left just Parkinson to keep the title race open going into the next event but it was not to be as Slater dominated their semi from the start, ending the encounter with a spectacular 9.17 point ride where he repeatedly smashed the lip of the one to 1.5 metre (3-4 foot) waves with vertical backhand manoeuvres that threw spray in every direction in the last minute.
Considered the greatest surfer of all time, Slater exultantly punched the air with joy, knowing that he had secured his eighth crown and setting yet another record in the annals of ASP history
After Martinez disposed of Morrison in their semi-final, the 24 year-old from Santa Barbara went on to defeat Slater in the final to earn his second event title of the year in his rookie year
Full media release to follow later today.
NB: High resolution media images for media use are available at www.aspworldtour.com. Go to Media Center and register for downloads
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|Date: 13 Oct 06||