Kelly Slater mistakenly granted 11th world surfing crown at Ocean Beach
It seemed like everything had gone right for Kelly Slater. Ocean Beach was warm under sunny blue skies, the surf was clean and smooth, his performance was dialed in, and an adoring crowd gathered around him as he took the stage to claim his 11th world surfing title.
Only something went wrong: the math.
The Association of Surfing Professionals admitted Friday that it had miscalculated its rankings and that Slater had been wrongly awarded the ASP World Title:
“Our rankings’ system is designed to split tie-breaks based off of seed points,” Renato Hickel, ASP World Tour Manager, said. “Kelly (Slater) and Owen (Wright) tied at best nine of 11 results, so we went to best eight of 11 results and the system gave it to Kelly based off his higher seed position. We were operating under that assumption and created the ASP World Title scenarios based off of that. This was a mistake. In the end, we’re responsible for this and should be held accountable. We apologize to our fans, the surfers and to Owen and Kelly.”
A tweet from Slater’s Twitter account indicates that he brought the possibility of an error to ASP’s attention, but an earlier tweet appears to show that a commenter on the Surfline surfing website brought up the matter in a comment at 8:42 p.m. Wednesday night.
Surfing website The Inertia, which appears to have broken the story, explained that although it is likely Slater will go on to win the ASP World Title, it’s possible for Owen Wright to take it instead by winning both at Ocean Beach in San Francisco and at the next event in the tour schedule, in Hawaii:
Kelly needs to win only one more heat this year, whether in San Francisco or Hawaii, and he will officially, again, be the 2011 champ. Owen needs to win both the Rip Curl Search contest now underway, and the World Tour event at Pipeline to be crowned ASP champion.
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