Legendary American surfer, Kelly Slater, has claimed the ASP World Tour title for an unprecedented 10th time with a victory in the Rip Curl Pro Search in Puerto Rico.
Slater's 45th elite tour win followed hot on the heels of another world title, which was confirmed when he progressed past the quarter final stage of the surf season's penultimate event in Porta Del Sol.
The 38-year-old has been back to his incredible best this year and he continued that form by defeating Bede Durbidge in the final in pumping three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves by scoring a Perfect 10 and a huge 18.77 points to the Australian's 14.43.
The Rip Curl Pro Search was postponed for two days as a mark of respect for Tuesday's passing of former three-time world champion Andy Irons and in the end, the event was a fitting tribute to the Hawaiian with some of the best surfing displays in recent memory on show.
“This is the only event close to my home and I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico when I was a kid,” Slater said. “I used to surf a lot of contests at Jobos and Wilderness, so this was kind of like a homecoming for me.
"A lot of my friends here I’ve known for 25 years and to surf with Dylan [Graves], I used to surf with his father in Florida when I was a kid. It was a special time. To be close to Florida and to win the 10th and get that wave [the Perfect 10] in the final, there is nothing else I could add to it.”
'This is a dream' – Kelly Slater
“The wave that did it for me was that first one in the quarter finals against Adriano (de Souza),” Slater said. “That was the heat I needed to win to get the title, and after that first wave, I felt this wave of relief.
"I still had to win the heat, but I was so relaxed and everything just started going my way. I was in the best possible headspace I could have been in for the rest of the day. This is a dream.”
Meanwhile, Michel Bourez posted the best result of his career by finishing equal third at the Rip Curl Pro Search, where he reached the semi finals.
The 24-year-old from Tahiti took out lethal rookie Owen Wright (AUS), 20, and current ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith with a blend of uncompromising power surfing. Although unable to overtake Durbidge in the semi finals, Bourez was delighted with his display, which moved him inside the world's top-ten.
“I'm disappointed but very happy with my result,” Bourez said. “It’s the best result of my career. It’s been an emotional week. I don’t think Andy [Irons] has been far from anyone’s minds at all. It’s so sad, but I think we all surfed for him and everyone was ripping the past two days.”
The final stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour will be the Billabong Pipeline Masters from December 8-20, 2010.
Rip Curl Pro Search Final result
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.77
2 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.43
Rip Curl Pro Search Semi Final results
SF 1:Kelly Slater (USA) 16.34 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.87
SF 2:Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.87 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.36
Rip Curl Pro Search Quarter Final results
QF 1:Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.50 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.17
QF 2:Kelly Slater (USA) 18.87 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.36
QF 3:Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.50 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10
QF 4:Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.97 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.47
ASP World Tour overall rankings (after Puerto Rico)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 66250 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 52250 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 44750 pts
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 40000 pts
5. Dane Reynolds (USA) 37250 pts
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