Could Kelly take the title at Trestles?
The upcoming Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley may be the closest thing eight-time ASP World Champion and ratings leader Kelly Slater (USA) has to a home court advantage on the ASP World Tour.
Held at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California from September 7-13, 2008, the 7th of 11 events on this year's ASP World Tour is the only elite tour stop in the continental U.S.A. Slater hails from Florida.
Trestles is probably [the closest thing I have to a home break on tour],Slater said. It is the only mainland U.S. event and it's been probably the most consistent event year to year for me. I've loved Trestles since I was very young.
Slater has featured in the Boost Mobile Pro final for the last four years, winning in 2005 and 2007 and finishing second in 2004 and 2006. Having claimed four of six events on this year's ASP World Tour, it is quite likely that Slater will win an unprecedented 9th ASP World Title in 2008.
In fact, had he not suffered his second hiccup of the year and posted an equal 17th finish at the last ASP World Tour stop in Bali, Indonesia, Slater would have been mathematically capable of clinching in California something that has never been done.
I know the numbers and possibilities roughly in my head, Slater said. I would love to wrap this thing up at any point but, yes, Trestles would have been really nice.
Despite his early exit in Bali, Slater maintained a healthy ratings lead when perennial title contenders like World No. 2 Joel Parkinson (AUS) and three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) bowed out early too.
Bali was a gift to me in the end, Slater said. A good result at Trestles could really set my momentum back up. A mess-up could really rattle and shake things up for me. I didn't think I'd be looking at this the way it is now though, so it's all fine from here on out.
Parkinson is the closest thing Slater has to a spoiler at this point. The 2002 and 2004 runner-up to the ASP World Title beat Slater in the final to win the 2004 Boost Mobile Pro but has not earned an ASP World Tour victory since taking top honors in France in September of 2006.
Despite making it to the quarterfinals or better in 12 of the last 14 events, Parkinson has not featured in a final in close to two years a stark contrast to Slater who has made eight finals and won five events since Parkinson last stood atop a podium.
It's been a while since I had my last tour win, Parkinson said. There is no easy explanation but I do know that I am feeling fit, I do have the right attitude and I am going to be ready to compete. I've won the event before and know that I have to be 100% on my game if I want to repeat that.
Parkinson's consistency has secured him his No. 2 rating, and even if Slater looks like a shoe-in for the title, he hasn't completely conceded just yet.
The facts speak for themselves, Kelly is the form surfer this year and is rightfully well in front on the leader board, Parkinson said. That doesn't mean that I am going to sit on my laurels and hand it to him. There is a lot at stake at every event and I am not just going to sit back and let Kelly have it.