Just shy of his 40th birthday, Kelly Slater has won his eleventh world title, smashing any record you care to mention, surfing or otherwise. To put his achievement into some sort of perspective, his closest competitor this year, Owen Wright, was just two years old when Slater won his first world title.
It’s heartening to see mainstream media get as excited as they have been – Pop editor Dave turned on the TV this morning to see the ABC break from normal programming to show live footage of Kelly pulling boards out of his car when he turned up to Ocean Beach for his heat, and it’ll be all over every radio, tv and news website by now.
It was nice to see him win it in style too – San Fransisco has turned it on for the Rip Curl Pro Search, and glassy, barrelling 3-4 foot beachbreaks have blessed the comp for this momentous day.
Kelly was surfing against NSW tour journeyman Dan Ross, who didn’t lie down for the champ, making Kelly work for his final score, a 7 which he bagged with just a couple of minutes left in the heat. Spare a thought too for Lennox Head mates Owen Wright and Adam Melling who paddled out for the next heat, when the eyes of the entire world were turned to the beach as Kelly was chaired through the crowd.
We’ll bring you more complete coverage from the contest as it happens, but for now, tip your cap to the champ.