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by Magicseaweed on Sunday 7th November, 2010 116319 Views
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© 2013 ASP/Kirstin
KELLY is the King, 10 times world champion and the greatest sportsman of our time. All he needed to do was win one heat and with a 75 percent plus heat win ratio he duly did just that. But that wasn't enough he bally went and won the whole Puerto Rican event.
The beach was packed it always is for a Kelly Slater heat, so imagine what it is like for an almost guaranteed Slater 10th world title. Beach crowd factor to the power of 10 and deafening cheers ringing around the dunes.
On almost home ground for the Floridian with his friends and family watching in person, Kelly did what you never thought possible. It will never be repeated in our generation, at least in the men's arena. Where were you when Slater won his 10th title? If you weren't watching the Rip Curl Pro Search in Puerto Rico then you missed out.
Both youngest world champ and the oldest -- at 38 no-one will eclipse the latter even if some bright spark is likely to do the former in a sport dominated by youth. © 2013 ASP/Kirstin
The winning heat...
Kelly dropped a nine pointer immediately in the quarters and then within a few seconds double-barrelled the next wave. Taj Burrow watching from the beach said "that's 10 right there." Then an air reverse which didn't even count. An 18.87 combined heat score before Andrano De Souza had even taken a wave was more than enough to claim title number 10.
"I just want to send my condolences to Irons family. It's been a week of extremes for me. If it wasn't for Andy there is no way I'd be here in this position right now. I don't really know what else to say, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family." © 2013 Rip Curl
Throughout his career Kelly's ability to raise his game, compete and beat the 'nu skool' whomever they may be came together in the heat of his life. What else do you expect? Kelly to fall over the line by lucky chance or to use the momentum of the occasion to drive himself forwards?
He must be glad the breakaway tour never happened as it would have robbed him of this large slice of surfing history. Quiksilver his sponsors for his whole career are several million dollars less well off than they were yesterday and probably more than happy to part with the cash. Stand up and take a bow Kelly the surf world salutes you. What a way to finish the year. Is this the end for the ultimate competitor? Not a chance. © 2013 ASP/Cestari
Juxtapose this triumph against a world tour still mourning the loss of a great, Andy Irons, whose untimely departure still hangs heavy in the air, celebrations will be inevitably muted.
There is no doubt a horrific crash of coincidence that Kelly reaches his career zenith at the point at which his greatest rival lost the ultimate battle. This event and Kelly's final title will always be remembered in tandem with Andy. His career was often defined by Andy and with their epic battles already writ large in surfing lore, the the intertwined nature of their relationship continues into posterity.
"I want to dedicate this to Andy. If he hadn't been here I would never to stood here now." Said Kelly after his win. © 2013 ASP/Kirstin
Route to the win...
After canning his quarter final Kelly paddled out in semifinal one against an on-form Taj Burrow. Kelly grabbed back-to-back 8.17s mid heat and with it the lead. You'd think that he couldn't have cared less but he is that competitive and aware that everyone was here wanting him to surf that he continued to perform. Taj holing the only 10 of the event wasn't for bending and nearly landed a big old rotation to take the heat. Slapping the water in frustration he handed the heat to Kelly.
"That was payback for Taj smashing me at Pipe last year." Like the proverbial elephant a Slater doesn't forget even after 10 world titles.
"This is the only event close to my home and I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico when I was a kid," Slater said. "I used to surf a lot of contests at Jobos and Wilderness, so this was kind of like a homecoming for me." © 2013 ASP/Kirstin
Bede versus Kelly in the final as the waves dropped in quality how could Bede stand in the way of a golden stamp on Kelly's day? Slater had obviously not been supping too much bubbly in the heat break and took to his task of beating Bede with the same zeal he's applied across his long career.
The Slaternator nailed the point home with a 10 pointer to mark 10 titles with a couple of massive turns and a massive punt. So that was it, an exclamation mark on an unparalleled year and career. You ever seen him fall out of a bar with a powdered nose and a hooker under his arm? No you haven't but he'd probably be the best at that too.
Stefan Everts might have won 10 world championships in motocross -- but call us prejudiced -- doing it in surfing is pretty much unbelievable. Kelly now stands proud with every sporting great, Ali, Jordan? The list is short and the comparison subjective. For two decades Kelly has dominated a tough physical sport, bent all to his will and charmed the rest.
Can he do 11? All the signs are that golf and the Big Wave World Tour are beckoning. All we know is that you haven't heard the last of him. © 2013 ASP/Cestari
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