By Ray Jarvis
On Oct. 13, Mundaka, Spain, became a world stage when the world’s top surfers converged on one of the world’s best lefts.
With two events still remaining on the Foster’s Association of Surfing Professionals Men’s World Tour, Kelly Slater cannot be surpassed by anyone. Taj Burrow (AUS), Andy Irons (HAW), Joel Parkinson (AUS), and Mick Fanning (AUS) all had a fighting chance going into Mundaka, the ninth stop on the ASP tour, but could not stop the force to be reckoned with that is Kelly Slater.
Winning his eighth title, Slater did so in a year he considers to be one of his most relaxing years on the pro tour.
“This has been my most consistent season ever,” said Slater in an interview on Surfline. “I’ve been much more relaxed this year. I’ve just been cruising and having fun and haven’t put so much pressure on myself.”
After claiming two early season victories, first with the Quicksilver Pro on Australia’s Gold Coast and then at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia, Slater set a relentless pace placing third in Tahiti, a no show in Fiji, fifth in Mexico, third at J-Bay, second in California, third in France and finally finishing up with a second in Spain.
“I was almost going to retire this year,” said Slater in the Surfline interview. “And then I won on the Gold Coast and then at Bells and kept going. I tore a rib cartilage at Bells, and then I hit the same spot with my board in Tahiti. That means that I missed Fiji, which probably kept my motivation going into the next event in Mexico. That made me more focused, and then I had the advantage of competing in one less event than the other guys but still had the ratings lead, so I could afford to relax and take things as they came.”
So was that the last time Slater will claim the world No. 1 ranking? As far as Slater is concerned he will be making that decision following the final event, the Pipeline Master’s in Hawaii in December.
“It is tempting to retire, but it is also tempting, when you are going well to keep going,” Slater said in an interview with the Australian Associated Press. “I’m thinking seriously about the pro tour next year and possibly only doing the events and places I really love.”
With this eighth world title Kelly Slater has furthered his prominence in surfing history and is truly the greatest competitive surfer of all time. The ASP season in not over yet, as he is also looking to break Tom Curren’s record of most career ASP victories of 33. He is currently tied with Curren and has that in his sights heading into the final leg of the season at Brazil and then on the North Shore.