Champs leader Slater proves age is no handicap with win in Fiji

2013-06-13 00:00

KELLY Slater (41) proved that age is no handicap when powering to his second Volcom Fiji Pro title at Cloudbreak yesterday.

The record-breaking, 11-time ASP world champion mastered pumping six-to-eight foot (two metre) barrels to take out Australian Mick Fanning and reach the number one spot on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) rankings.

Slater enjoyed a consistent contest, racking up the results when it counted and at vital stages of the competition.

He started in the quarter-finals, scoring a perfect 20 in his heat against Hawaii’s Sebastian Zeitz, breezed past John-John Florence (Hawaii) in the semis and in the final, produced another scorcher that saw the judges award him 19,80 out of 20.

Said Slater: “Wow. What a day. It was insane. In the final, Mick initially had position and I was a little deep, but when my turn came, it was unbelievable. I dedicate this win to my brother, his wife and their new child. I was told if I missed the birth I had better win, so this is for them.”

Slater’s quarter-final perfect score was only the fourth instance recorded on the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) and the second of his career.

His points came courtesy of some deep backhand tube riding, which he demonstrated his sublime skill and command of the waves.

“The waves made it happen. They steal the show. When they arrive, like they did, then the surfing is unbelievable. The second 10 I scored against Sebastian was incredible,” said Slater.

“I hit the inside and told myself to keep going and come out of it. On one of my previous rides the day before, I wasn’t so fortunate and never came out of a big barrel.”

The champion added the waves were perfect for him, so good he could have enjoyed three perfect-10 rides.

“It’s special to get a perfect 10 in a heat and I’m really stoked,” he said.

Fanning was a worthy finalist, his backhand barrel riding skills, driving through deep tubes and massive turns, impressing the judges throughout the competition.

Said the Australian: “My first ride was a 9,2 which I was pretty happy with. When Kelly never got a 10 on his first ride, I thought I was still in with a shout, but he shut the door on the next one and that was me. Second is not bad and it came good for me when it counted.”

Durban’s Jordy Smith finished a creditable fifth overall, beaten in the quarter-finals by Florence. The result saw the local surfer slip from the top of the ASP rankings to third, but within striking distance of the top two, Slater and Fanning.

Smith now heads to Bali, Indonesia, for the Oakley Pro Bali from June 18 to June 29.

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