Slater wins 50th career win at Trestles
Slater wins 50th career win at Trestles
It was in 1990 that a young Florida surfer would win his first big career title, the picturesque cobble-stone beach of Trestles as the backdrop for the big moment in the budding surfer's life.
More than 20 years later -- at 40 -- Kelly Slater was lifted off the sand by fans at the same exact spot, celebrating his 50th ASP World Title win after clinching his sixth Hurley Pro title on Thursday.
"I love Trestles," he said. "I felt like I've had so many good years at Lowers. It's been my best event on tour. It's cool to win the 50th event here; I won my first event as a pro here. It sort of feels like a nice wrap up for me. It's nice."
The victory came after four days of competition at Trestles, a contest that brought the world's top 34 surfers south of San Clemente to compete in front of hard-core surf fans through the week. The waves showed strong in the 4-foot-to-6-foot range, occasionally overhead, for the competitors to showcase their skills.
The event kicked off last Sunday, and on the final day the action started with former world champion Mick Fanning taking out Julian Wilson, who had been surfing strong the entire event.
Fanning – who was ranked No.1 on the ASP World Title ratings going into the contest – talked about how advancing at the Hurley Pro would help his lead to take a World Tour title this year.
"At this stage, it's all really close. You really just have to beat the guy you're in the heat with, not anyone else. I just try to get out there and get the job done," he said.
An all-Brazilian heat with Adriano de Souza and Gabriel Medina had to be put on hold after a thick fog back rolled in and judges couldn't see the surfers and waves.
It wasn't long before the fog lifted and the sun came back out, allowing the contest to continue. De Souza had already gotten too strong of a lead, and Medina wasn't able to come back.
"It feels good. Gabriel is such a good man, and he's a great competitor," Adriano said. "He's going to go for a world title soon for sure."
Fanning continued his streak by taking out Taj Burrow with high scores, with Fanning earning high scores of 9.20 and 8.40.
"I saw how big it was, so I knew the sets were coming through," Fanning said. "Surfing Lowers with no one else out, why wouldn't you be stoked out there?"
Bob Hurley, creator of the surf wear brand and sponsor of the event, speculated earlier Thursday on who could take the win.
"I don't have any money on it – but if you made me put money on someone, just by stats -- it would most likely be Kelly Slater," he said.
Spectator Rick "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti said the same.
"Kelly has been there many, many times; he's probably won this event more than anyone. The way he's been surfing today, he looks pretty solid," Fignetti said. "He looks pretty on point."
Slater showed he was serious about the win in the semi-finals when he went up against Fanning. Slater put up an early 8.10, and then went for a mind-blowing air for a big score of a 9.17, for a total heat score of 17.27. Fanning couldn't put any big scores on the board, coming in at 6.67.
In the second semi-finals, Joel Parkinson put up huge scores – a total 18.26 – to take out de Souza, which allowed Parkinson to be matched up with Slater in the finals. Parkinson had been surfing strong the entire event, and had the two highest single-wave scores -- a 9.93 and 9.87 – of the event.
In the final, Slater came out firing, putting up a 7.33 and then backing it up with a 6.77 during the first half of the 30-minute heat. A long lull set in, not giving much opportunity for Parkinson to get the score he needed. Then Slater put a stamp on it with an 8.67.
Slater won his third consecutive Hurley Pro, and earned valuable points in his bid toward a World Title. Slater is now third in the ratings, well within striking distance for an unprecedented 12th world title. Fanning remains at the top, and Parkinson is close in second spot. The tour now goes to France for the Quiksilver Pro France.
"I had a great week, everyone who came down to watch – we can really hear you down there, thanks for the support," Parkinson said. "Congratulations to Kelly, it would have been nice to take him, but he definitely proved that he's the one to beat."
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