Kelly Slater launched himself even higher into the pantheon of the greatest American athletes ever with his go-for-broke performance and record 50th world contest tour (WCT) victory yesterday at the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Beach.
This is the third consecutive Hurley Pro win for the 11-time surfing World Champion.
In pumping 3-5’ waves and while surfing a quad (4-fin), Slater took down Australian Joel “Parko” Parkinson with his typical passion and strategic brilliance.
“I know I went out there feeling like I didn’t have anything to lose because Parko was the form guy,” Slater said. “He was pretty much the standout in every round. I just figured I had to get myself on the best waves and let go a little bit.”
With a solid southern hemisphere swell creating rippable A-frames at the Lower Trestles wave park, the world’s best surfers put on a show for thousands of spectators who crowded into the Hurley contest area.
Standout surfers included Mick Fanning who came in third and is still first in the ASP World Rankings with Parko in a close second and Slater in third.
The ASP tour moves on to Europe for the Quiksilver Pro next week in Hossegor, France, and the Rip Curl Pro in Peniche, Portugal in October.
With the absence of the Action Sport Retail Expo each fall in San Diego that used to coincide with the Lowers ASP event, the Hurley Pro continues to be one of the world’s great surfing spectacles.
The lined up Lowers walls have become the equivalent of an Olympic snowboard half-pipe event meets the U.S. Open of tennis: great surfing, progressive moves and a super hardcore fan base that scrutinizes every move and cheers on the surfers as they complete their rides just yards from the sand and stands.
The Hurley Pro is now the number one surf industry “bro-down” with throngs of industry stalwarts, surf media and a hyper kinetic hipster crowd, who despite their intensive networking and bro-outs rarely take their eyes off the action.
Under the direction of contest director Pat O’Connell, the Hurley Pro is everything a surf contest should be—well run, focused on athletic endeavor, supportive of local environmental initiatives (the San Onofre Foundation received the benefits of local photo sales) suspenseful, and easy to follow.
With the legacy of Kelly and the emergence of the new school of rippers including Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith, John John Florence, Adriano de Souza, Josh Kerr and Julian Wilson, the ASP tour is poised for change.
But first, the upstarts are going to have to get in better shape, surf with a bit more style, and outfox Slater, Parko, Fanning and Taj Burrow.
“Every contest I’ve won, there’s some moment where things go my way,” Slater said.
With the upcoming Quiksilver contest in the continually changing barrels of southwest France, history seems to be on the side of Kelly.
It will be up to Fanning and Parko to stop him.
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.27 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.34
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.26 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.43
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.60 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.50
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.17 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.93
QF 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.16 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.04
QF 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.60 def. John John Florence (HAW) 11.60
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.90 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.76
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.94 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.44
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.93 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.57
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 18.30 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.57