SOMEWHERE, Puerto Rico - The sixth installment of the ASP's sole roving event license, the Rip Curl Pro Search, is gearing up for an historic couple of weeks as the world's best surfers converge on the island paradise of Puerto Rico.
Stop No.9 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico will enjoy a waiting period from October 30 through November 10, 2010, and potentially bear witness to one of the greatest sporting feats in history.
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, is firmly in the driver's seat in the race for the 2010 title heading into the Caribbean, with only young South African and current ASP World No. 2, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, remaining in the hunt.
"The pundits are correct (it's absolutely mine to lose at this point)," Slater said. "I'm in as good a position as I could hope for coming out of Portugal with Jordy (Smith) finishing well there. I'm pretty comfortable, but I know Jordy has been consistent all year and could win another event. I just have to do my thing on the other side of the draw, and I'm still looking to win events if I'm in them. I'm excited for Puerto Rico. It used to be a second home. We'll see how familiar it feels."
For Slater to clinch his historic 10th ASP Crown at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico, the following scenarios must occur:
- If Slater finishes Equal 3rd or better, he clinches the 2010 ASP World Title.
- If Slater finishes Equal 5th or Equal 9th, Smith must win the event to send the ASP World Title Race to Hawaii.
- If Slater finishes Equal 13th or Equal 25th, Smith must finish Equal 3rd or better to send the ASP World Title Race to Hawaii.
- Essentially, if Smith fails to finish higher than Equal 5th, Slater claims the 2010 ASP World Title.
With his familiarity with the venue and enthusiasm the Rip Curl Pro Search event, the iconic Floridian is looking as dangerous as ever.
"I actually pitched the idea to Quiksilver six or eight years ago hoping they would do it to start the year," Slater said. "I think it's a great idea and we should have more variety and worldwide mobile events."
The Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico, the penultimate event on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour, also boasts the potential of seeing a champion crowned.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP Women's World Champion and current ASP Women's World No. 1, is poised to set history herself, being the first-ever surfer to claim four ASP World Titles from four attempts.
"I think the excitement of heading to the Search event in Puerto Rico is overshadowing everything else," Gilmore said. "I've never been to Puerto Rico before but have heard it's beautiful and I have some good friends coming along to watch so that's about as far as my thoughts have gone. I've heard it's similar to the North shore Hawaii with a Latin twist, plenty of fun waves and adventures to go on."
While Gilmore retains the lead in the hunt for the 2010 ASP Women's World Title, two other young surfers remain: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, and Carissa Moore (HAW), 18.
For Gilmore to clinch her fourth ASP Women's World Title at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico, the following scenarios must occur:
- If Gilmore finishes Equal 3rd or better, she clinches the 2010 ASP Women's World Title.
- If Gilmore finishes Equal 5th, Fitzgibbons needs to win the event to send the 2010 ASP Women's World Title Race to Hawaii.
- If Gilmore finishes Equal 9th or Equal 17th, Fitzgibbons needs to finish Runner-Up or better and/or Moore needs to win to send the 2010 ASP Women's World Title Race to Hawaii.
- Essentially, if Fitzgibbons fails to finish higher than Equal 3rd and/or Moore fails to win the event, Gilmore will clinch the 2010 ASP Women's World Title.
2010 marks the second year the ASP Top 17 have partaken in Rip Curl's Pro Search event, and the roving nature of the event is a major attraction to the reigning champ.
"Obviously the concept is unique and something special that's really only seen in the surfing arena," Gilmore said. "It's such a fitting event for Rip Curl as "the search" for better waves has always fueled the company, and this is the second year they've included the women, so I'm pretty happy about that.
The Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico will be webcast LIVE via live.ripcurl.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com