HOSSEGOR, France (Friday, Sept. 19, 2008) - Eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) has a shot at claiming his ninth ASP World Title sometime this week but he'll have to win the Quiksilver Pro France to do so.
"I know I have to win the event to clinch the title and a second won't be enough, that's the math," Slater said.
Slater won't get started today however. Though the Quiksilver Pro waiting period has officially begun, conditions are looking better for tomorrow and competition was called off this morning.
Having already won five events of seven held this season, another first place performance in France does not seem out of the question for Slater. That said, Slater has only one French ASP World Tour win to his credit 14 years into his career.
"It is a great event but I got third place four years in a row which is pretty frustrating," Slater, who earned an equal 17th result last year, said. "The first and only time I won here was in 1996, 12 years ago."
Even if Slater does win the Quiksilver Pro, the three surfers sitting behind him on the ratings can spoil his chances to clinch in France. Specifically, if World No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) finishes 3rd or better or World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) or World No. 5 Mick Fanning (AUS) make the final, the race will continue until the following stop in Mundaka, Spain. World No. 4 Joel Parkinson (AUS) only stays in ASP World Title contention if Slater finishes second or lower in France.
Tim Boal (FRA) won the Komunity Trials to join Joan Duru (FRA) and Michel Bourez (PYF) as the final wildcard into the event. Nic Muscroft (AUS) and Gabe Kling (USA) are replacing Neco Padaratz (BRA) and Dean Morrison (AUS) who pulled out citing injuries.
Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow at 8am local time.
Quiksilver Pro France Heat Draw:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 4: Andy Irons (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Chris Ward (USA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW), Heitor Alves (BRA), Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 13: Luke Stedman (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)