Rip Curl Pro Search – Day 2 Recap
On a gorgeous day with even prettier waves, Slater thrilled the massive crowd, filled with spectators who held signs that spelled out “Ke11y,” as he surfed his way into the record books.
At 39 years old, Slater is the oldest surfer to win an ASP World Title. He is also the youngest to ever win it — he nabbed his first when he was 20 — and his record of 11 titles gives him the most wins in the sport’s history. He has effectively dominated the world of competitive surfing for the past two decades.
Slater’s record isn’t just better than that of any other competitive surfer, it is leaps and bounds ahead. The surfer with the most world titles after Slater is Australian Mark Richards. His record, compared to Kelly’s 11? Four, notched in consecutive years from 1979 to 1982.
The beach conditions could not have been more cooperative and photogenic for Day 2 of the competition. The winds remained offshore and favorable throughout the day, with many of the competitors pulling into barrels to the delight of the spectators. The crowd swelled throughout the day, especially in anticipation of Slater’s heat.
While the news of Kelly Slater’s 11th title monopolized Day 2 of the contest, the action in the water was exciting throughout all the heats, with many head-to-head contests coming down to the wire. In fact, Slater’s winning wave came in the last 90 seconds of a 30-minute heat.
In other news from Day 2:
- Third-ranked Adriano De Souza and fifth-ranked Taj Burrow were both upset in afternoon heats.
- Dane Reynolds, widely considered a noteworthy surfer but not a contender in this competition, was knocked out of the contest in an early match-up.
- Day 2 began at sunrise with a memorial paddle-out in honor of the one-year anniversary of the death of Andy Irons, a professional surfer who was one of Slater’s fiercest rivals and closest friends. Slater began his acceptance speech with a moment of silence in honor of Irons.
While Slater has clinched the world title, the contest at Ocean Beach is only about halfway done. The world title is determined by an accumulation of points from 11 different contests, of which the Ocean Beach contest is only one. The Rip Curl Pro Search at Ocean Beach is the 10th stop in the 2011 World Tour.
Slater’s cumulative point score from earlier World Tour stops put him far enough ahead of Owen Wright, the second-ranked surfer, that he needed only to advance past the third round Wednesday in order to win the title.
Competition will continue for two more days to determine the winner of the Ocean Beach contest. However, both weather and wave conditions are predicted to take a turn for the worse on Thursday, so it is not certain when the next day of the competition will be held.