It comes as no real surprise, but the official re-annointing of Kelly Slater as the 2011 ASP World Surfing Title winner happened again Sunday. We’ll assume that it sticks this time.
In a somewhat embarrassing mishap, a computer glitch was uncovered shortly after Kelly was declared the tour winner last week. This turn of events was taken in stride by both Slater and his only competitor for the title, Owen Wright.
Each pro took the news with good humor. Slater actually had a hand in verifying the miscalculation and bringing it to the ASP. Neither Slater, Wright, nor any long time observer held any real belief that the ultimate results would be any different than the premature one, but all played their respective roles as Pro Surfing went back in time to await Slater’s ultimate crowning.
And then Kelly Slater put an emphatic stamp on the victory, not content to wait for number 11 to come to him, he went and got it on Sunday with a sick barrel ride in heat 4 in San Francisco.
At stake was only Slater’s 11th World Title, an astonishing feat which we have wondered aloud about already in the first go round last Wednesday. Via the mishap, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) has afforded us the opportunity to revisit this amazing feat. Why not gaze in wonderment one more time?
Simply put, it is not only Guerrilla Surf that poses the argument that 11 World Titles for Slater puts him in the very upper echelon of elite professional athletes, let alone surfers… but a growing chorus outside of surfing can be heard talking about Kelly Slater. The larger sports world is taking Pro Surfing itself a whole lot more seriously.
It is not quite a unanimous view across the sporting world, but there is a surprising mainstream momentum, if not a consensus, that Slater belongs in the conversation with Jordan, Gretzky, Montana and Ali/Frazier. This goes a long way as evidence to show how far surfing has come since the 70′s and how bright the future is for the sport. This is a great time to be a surfer and/or a Pro Surfing fan. ……………………………………………….
In related news, Gabriel Medina won the San Francisco stop on the ASP tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search 2011. This led the classy Slater to hail the young Brazilian phenom as the future of Pro Surfing.
Massive props to Medina who surfed brilliantly throughout the contest and deserves recognition for it, beyond all the other news and distractions that turned up in the event. Medina proved himself to be one of the best young surfers in the sport and one to keep an eye on.
~ Joe Wise / Guerrilla Surf — Guerrilla.Surfers@gmail.com