Kelly Slater & Laird Hamilton: Surfer's, Writers, Legends!

Easily two of the greatest surfers of all time are releasing books, whatever these books take on, it should be taken at as a awesome opportunity to learn from two of the worlds most influential surfers. To be able to see how they do it, to see what makes them tick, to see what it might be like to walk a day in their sandles…

Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater. To call these guys legends would be an understatement. Each has reached to the top of the surfing world, raised the bar they set over and over again. They essentially revolutionized the sport in a way that few surfers have. Kelly and Laird are the ultimate cross section of surfing frontier men, building on the foundations laid by legendary surfers like Tom Curren and Greg Noll respectively.

Laird’s book, Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul and, of Course, Surfing has already been released. Force of Nature is what he calls a map of the choices he’s made along the way that have led him to reach the levels he has reached throughout all aspects of his life. “It’s about quality over quantity and being true to your physical, mental, and spiritual roots. Not only is it possible to thrive in the modern world without adopting its harmful habits: it’s essential” he says. Gabrielle Reece and Dave Kalama, as well as various food and health gurus have all helped contribute to Force of Nature.

‘Kelly Slater: For the Love’ is the 9x world champion’s soon to be released book. Throughout his career Kelly has embodied many roles in the surfing world; Professional surfer, world-class athlete, environmental and social activist, musician and worldwide celebrity. Kelly has always been one of those enegmatic iconic types of people who just seem to draw people to follow him, regardless of whether he desires it or not . Even more intriguing in Kelly's latest book are the people interviewed, From Jack Johnson, Eddie Vedder, and Shaun Thomson all the way to the one and only Pamela Anderson. Should be an awesome read! Chronicle Books will be releasing Kelly Slater: For the Love on Nov. 17


New Format for the ASP Dream Tour in 2009

Following one of the most historic board meetings to date, the ASP has introduced the option for a new competition format to be implemented in ASP World Tour events in 2009.

While the traditional 48-man format will still be available, events can elect to implement an altered 48-man format consisting of the following: two opening elimination man-on-man rounds. Round 1 will consist of 32 surfers, those rated 17 - 27 on the ASP World Tour, three Tour/Injury wildcards, the Top 15 rated surfers on the ASP WQS and three event wildcards.

The seeding formula will remain the same as the traditional format, with the No. 17 seed up against the No. 32 seed in Heat 8, the No. 18 seed against the No. 31 seed in Heat 9, etc. After Round 1, all remaining competitors will be reseeded for Round 2.

The Top 16 on the ASP World Tour are seeded directly in Round 2 where they will meet the 16 victors from Round 1 in the re-seeded draw. The Top 10 from the previous year's Dream Tour will be guaranteed a Round 2 seed all year long, while the next 6 seeds have to maintain their seeded position and can be replaced by better performing back 32 surfers after the third ASP World Tour event of the year. This means that the Top 16 seeds in 2009 will remain unchanged until after the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.

After Tahiti, only the Top 10 from the previous year will hold their spots (which is probably a good incentive to do Brazil and Pipeline this season), while the next 6 could be replaced if guys from the back 32 secure more seeding points. Seeding points going into Snapper will remain in effect.

The new format has already been adopted by the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, the Billabong Pro Mundaka and the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the opening event of the 2009 ASP World Tour, has opted to run with the traditional format, and Rip Curl are undecided which format they will implement at their Bells Beach and Search events.

We recently sat down with Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew (AUS), 53, former ASP World Champion and current President of ASP International, Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, 2007 ASP World Champion, and C.J. Hobgood (USA), 29, 2001 ASP World Champion, to discuss the new format:

1 - First off, what is (are) the reason(s) for the option to run an altered format next year?
Wayne Bartholomew: As part of the monitoring process it was clear that we needed to develop a menu of formats to fit the needs of the tour. The current format requires four running days. This doesn't sound overbearing in a 12-day window, but we still require two swell cycles to complete the event in quality waves and this proved a bridge too far. To fit into a three-day swell cycle we had to either reduce the field from 48 to 36 or peel it from a different angle.
Mick Fanning: I think some people just think that we waste a day or so when we run the first round with three-man heats and sometimes we can't finish the event with good waves. I think it will make it all a lot more exciting because it is straight cut throat from the first heat of competition.
C.J. Hobgood: I think getting the best waves in the allotted waiting period is the primary reason for offering the alternative format.

2 - Who came up with the format? When and who voted on its implementation?
Wayne Bartholomew: The ASP Technical Committee waded through a bunch of variations and opted to recommend to the Board a three-day format that still maintains a field of 48. As Chairman of the Technical Committee, I presented these findings and recommendations to the Mid-Year Board meeting in Huntington Beach this past July and we further tweaked it in the ensuing months.

3 - We can see that not all events will be running the new altered format - what is the reason that it was not mandatory for all events to implement?
Wayne Bartholomew: Events in 2009 will have the choice of the current format or implementing the new one. Quiksilver have already confirmed they will run with the current format, based on the fact that Snapper is a reasonably consistent wave and it can accommodate a combined Mens and Womens event in the window. Rip Curl is undecided, but are leaning towards the new format. The Tech Comm is now working on how far out from the start of a waiting period an event has to notify ASP of their preferred option. Billabong have already given notice that Teahupoo, J-Bay, Mundaka and Pipe will run with the new format and events like Boost and Brazil are getting their heads around it. In 2009, it is optional with the view to either making it mandatory from 2010 or running with a format menu.

4 - What are the positives for the surfers, the events and the viewers to run the new format?
Wayne Bartholomew: The surfers get man-on-man, no more three-man heats. There are built in seeding incentives based on performance over the season and there is a much better opportunity to pick the eyes out of the surf on offer. The events get to maximize swell cycles and build the event to a climactic conclusion in excellent surf. The chances of getting skunked are dramatically diminished and the opportunity to have Finals in great surf increases. The viewers get knockout competition. There are no meaningless rounds, it is on the line in every heat and they'll see a lot less action in low quality waves.
Mick Fanning: The positives are definitely the shorter period for the event. Most swells around the world only last three days, but our events take four to complete. Cutting out a round cuts that day out, keeps the performance level at high level because every heat counts, makes the Top 16 and Top 10 get an actual incentive for ranking that high instead of just the red singlet.
C.J. Hobgood: I think the positives are better waves for surfers, less days needed to run for the events, better waves and surfing for viewers.

5 - What are the negatives (if any) for surfers, the events and the viewers to run the new format?
Wayne Bartholomew: The only negative for the surfer is if one loses in the first round. You are out and it's a long way to go to be bundled out. I surfed my entire career without a safety net but guys get used to the second chance. If the swell absolutely pumps then the event might want the extra day for the beach crowd, the media and the webcast. So loss of content could be seen as a negative, but the trade-off will be an excellent event held in epic waves. Also, that may be why we eventually perpetuate the optional format menu. For the viewer they can't get enough, so the shorter event might be a negative, but again, the action will be an awesome spectacle.
Mick Fanning: I think the Back 32 will be extremely close when it comes to being on the cusp of qualifying, but everyone has to start at the bottom. The audience won't get to see your favorite surfers hit the water as many times, but it will be crucial each time they do.

6 - We see the Top 16 are seeded directly into Round 2. What happens to the rest?
Wayne Bartholomew: The back 32, made up of the back 11 of the Top 27, the Top 15 from the WQS, the 3 tour/injury wildcards and 3 Event wilds, go man-on-man in Round 1. So nobody misses out, but the re-introduction of the Top 16 provides incentive to be at every event.

7 - Part of the reason for the new format is to work towards a one-world ranking. This is something that was mandated in the past, but changed to the two-tiered system. Why are we moving back towards it? What are the advantages? When will is possibly be implemented?
Wayne Bartholomew: We hope to implement a one-world ranking system in 2010. The dynamic is totally different to pre-1992. There will still be 1-6 Stars, still be 6-Star Primes, and they will count towards the Top 45, who will still contest the ASP World Tour. There will most likely be a fluid transition whereby the bottom performing Top 45 will be replaced by high performing ASP WQS surfers in the same season. This will be much more marketable, better for media and more defining for the industry when it comes to sponsorships.
Mick Fanning: I think in this day and age, we need a one-world ranking system. The way the format works at the moment, the general public can't get their heads around it. I think it will help with how the ASP WQS is run also and make it easier for everyone to understand where they are. Also, if people get injured or have a bad year their ranking won't dramatically and they won't fall off tour. We have had a few of these cases over the years and hopefully that will cut that out.
C.J. Hobgood: I've always been a huge fan of the one-world ranking system. I never understood why guys like Danny Fuller, Bruno Santos, Manoa Drollet and Jamie O'Brien would make Finals and Semis against the best surfers in the world and not have a world ranking. Like in Chile when the local wildcard made a heat, the people in Chile should be able to look at their guy and see how he ranks on the one-world ranking system. Even if he is 400th, it's still a ranking. Also, the one-world rating system is easier to understand I'm so sick of trying to explain to someone that knows very little about surfing our two-tier system.

Renato Hickel (BRA), ASP World Tour Manager, noted also that, some adjustments may take place in the next Technical Committee meeting. It's possible that we will reduce the number from Top 10 to Top 8, or even reseed everyone after Tahiti, but we will have to wait until Hawaii to ultimately determine.

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com


Great surf in Japan this week!

Here are some pics from a spot in Northern Japan where some of my buddies are surfing. This break has it's days where it just lights up, usually around this time of year and throughout winter. The winds start coming off the mountains and blowing straight offshore and big swells pump out of the North. It gets super good when a big north swell is met by a moderate south swell and creates an A frame peak with long walls going left and right. One of the best sand bottom surf breaks in Japan in my book. Anyway I will shut up and let these pics from the last few days tell the story. Just click on the image to see a larger version.


Surf Rat!

He looks like a drowned rat. But clinging to his very own surfboard, this is simply a pet exploring his wild side.

Tofu, as he is known, and his 14-year-old owner hit the waves twice a week at their local beach in Hawaii.

Along with his fellow rat Fin, Tofu catches waves of up to 4ft and even rides tunnels of water known as 'tubes'.
Enlarge surf

Surfin' USA: Boomer Hodel with Tofu his incredible surfing rat. The teenager built a surfboard for his rats Tofu and Fin and spent weeks teaching them to hold on until they can now handle full tube waves in Haleiwa, Hawaii

'Running on a wheel isn't enough for Fin and Tofu - they like a more extreme rush,' said owner Boomer Hodel.

'When they first started they were pretty shaky and would fall off quite a lot, but now their balance is so good they fall off less than most human surfers.'

The rats - both one-year-olds - surf for 20 minutes at a time before drying off in the sun.

Each time, they are raring to get back to the water. 'Rats are natural swimmers,' Boomer said. 'And they have a very adventurous spirit.'

Hodel started their training by gently pushing the rats into tiny ripples at the water's edge before moving them on to more advanced waves.

Both the rats can swim and, after some early tumbles, can now perform tricks - often catching tubes in front of stunned onlookers.

Hodel draws big crowds of spectators at his local Laniakea Beach.

Both the rats can swim and after some early tumbles can now perform tricks

He said: 'They love surfing. Fin's favourite trick is a tube ride - where the wave breaks over him and he rides through a tunnel of water.

'Sometimes he falls off his board and I have to take him back to the beach to warm him up with a towel. But he is always raring to get back out there.

'The first time I took the rats down to the beach it was to give them a wash because they were all dirty. But they loved the water so much I had to take them back.'
Enlarge rat

Hang 10: Hodel started by gently pushing the rats into tiny ripples at the water's edge, then moved on to more advanced waves and taught him to perform tricks like 'tube-riding'

The water-loving rats are even on a special diet to stay in shape.

'It has really boosted their performance,' said Hodel.

'I give them high protein, low carbohydrate foods. Rats are natural swimmers and have a very adventurous spirit.'

He made the 1ft-long surfboards himself with the help of pals Jeremy Martin and Akila Barrnett , both 14. Ratical!

Ratical: Children watch Fin the incredible surfing rat in action

Hodel got the idea when he snapped his surfboard on a big wave and decided to turn each half into a smaller surfboard using sandpaper and fibreglass.

His incredible pets were caught on camera by Hawaiian photographer Clark Little.

He said: 'I saw these kids walking down the beach with two rats and some tiny surfboards so I went over to see what they were doing.

'I couldn't believe it when the rats started surfing. They was really good, surfing very fast and having a grand old time.

'I thought it was weird at first at first but they both seem to really enjoy it and the rats are good swimmers.

'Rats are survivors. Maybe that's why these ones are so good at extreme sports.'



Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, former seven-time ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 3 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour ratings, has officially announced her retirement from full-time competition, effective at the end of the year.

"I feel like now is a really good time, even though I am in my career best form, because I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl and to achieve the goals I set for myself in surfing, I have to give it my all and I'm not," Beachley said. "I have to be honest with myself " I'm not commiting 100% time and energy and effort and focus into winning world titles. It doesn't mean that I can't win world titles, but my priorities are beginning to shift and my focus and my passion in business and charity work and my ambassador roles is beginning to have more appeal to me than competing for a living. I feel like I've achieved everything that I've wanted to and that it is good to go out while I'm still in top form."

Beachley's announcement comes as a surprise to the surfing community, given that the iconic natural-footer is surfing better than ever and currently challenging for the ASP Women's World Title once again, sitting in No. 3 spot on the ratings at present.

"I feel like I'm surfing the best I have in my whole career," Beachley said. "Nothing has really changed on tour except for my attitude. It's my lack of commitment to winning. I base my choices off my experiences and my experience has told me that you have to be 100% focused and also love you're doing. Even though I love what I do, I'm beginning to love what I'm doing out of the water more. My passion for competitive surfing has been diluted, and to achieve success and to win world titles, you can't afford for it to be diluted too much. So now I've had to make a decision and I'm convinced I'm doing the right thing."

The Sydney-sider is the most accomplished female surfer in the history of the sport, winning a record seven ASP Women's World Titles (1998-2004, 2006), scalping 29 elite tour victories, and collecting countless accolades as one of surfing's most recognizable figures.

"There's been millions of highlights," Beachley said. "I think every time that I stopped in my tracks and had to pinch myself and ask 'is this real?' have been the highlights of my life. Finding myself in the most random places on Earth, donning a bikini with a board under my arm and just staring out into the ocean in disbelief that I get to do that for a living. One of the greatest achievements was winning my first event back in 1993 and winning my first ASP Women's World Title back in 1998. Those were both enormous acheivements for me."

While stepping away from full-time professional surfing, Beachley hasn't ruled out donning the jersey again should she receive an invite, and will continue to be a force both in and out of the surfing world with her clothing line, her numerous charities and other high-profile projects.

"I have my own brand, Beachley Athletics, which I really want to put a lot more time and energy and effort into," Beachley said. "I don't think it's achieving the success it deserves because I can't commit enough resources to it. I have my charity, Aim for the Stars. I've just begun promoting my book, Beneath the Waves. I will still stage the Beachley Classic. I love women's surfing. I'm really passionate about it. Just because I'm walking away from the Tour doesn't mean I'm walking away from women's surfing. I'll still be there as a supporter and a believer and also pursuing a career in the media."

Beachley is competing this week at her signature event, the Beachley Classic, held in Manly, Australia.

"I feel like I've created a legacy and that's something to be incredibly proud of," Beachley said. "I've instilled hunger and passion into the future generations of female competitive surfing coming up through the ranks. I know Steph (Gilmore) looks at me and wants what I got. It was Lisa Andersen before me that gave me the motivation to become seven-times ASP Women's World Champion. That kind of drive and dedication that it takes to be a champion is the legacy I think I am leaving behind and it's something I'm very proud of."


My Bro's Up North Scored Today!

Sometimes I forget how blessed I am living in a tropical paradise! Usually these feelings come on when we are having a flat spell and I see my buddies up North are getting great waves. Oh well next big swell that comes my way, I will forget all about days like these. Still stoked for my mates!


Surfer Girls!

It is time to post a few more pictures of two of my favorite things in life, surfing and cute girls who surf! There was a time many years ago when if a a girl was cute, I didn't care if she surfed or not, but that time has gone (to a degree) Now if she is cute and surfs I am hooked and I can't stop staring! Baby got wax? (Man I get lame at times!) here the pics I will shut up now!

A cool moment!

I went down to a local surf spot here in Japan the other day. We had just had a taifun (typhoon) swell to play with for the entire week prior and as such I was getting spoiled. The waves had been head to head and a half all week, well shaped, off shore, hitting the reef from just the right angle. To tell the truth I was feeling pretty surfed out. The waves were all junked up by a heavy onshore wind that came as tail of the taifun passed over. I had my board in the car but thought, nah, head back to bed and have a lazy day. As I turned around I saw one of the most odd ball father son setups I have ever seen coming towards me and thought 'stick around see what these two do'. The father was well on in years and just looked like your typical old Japanese fisherman, the son was a tanned stocky guy carrying a twin fin retro fish and donning a crazy Mohawk. They were pointing at the junky waves getting all excited!

The son, skipped erratically up and down the seawall, looking for the best place to paddle out, while the dad stoically sat on a rock with his hands on his knees and gazed out to sea. Later after the son paddled out I asked the father if he was a surfer to which he replied, 'No, but I sure wish the sport had been around when I was young enough to have tried it, at least it brings me and my son together around the ocean'. I don't know why but this moment just really stuck in my mind and I thought I would share these pics I snapped with you all.

Pratte's Reef Pulled Down

Pratte's Reef, made of sandbags, was supposed to create ridable waves that a Chevron jetty at El Segundo had flattened. But the structure off Dockweiler State Beach didn't work.
Surfers just can't catch a break at Dockweiler State Beach.

An ambitious effort to use an artificial offshore reef there to create ridable ocean waves is a washout, its organizers concede.

Making New Waves

Disappointed long-boarders watching workers remove the sandbag-sided Pratte's Reef say the last big wave action was 26 years ago, when a spectacular wintertime El Niño storm system pounded the El Segundo shoreline.

But the same monstrous swells that had surfers flocking to the ocean south of Los Angeles International Airport swept away much of the broad, sandy beach. Particularly hard hit was a pipeline that connects the Chevron oil refinery with ocean tankers moored offshore.

After the storm, the oil company constructed a 380-foot rock jetty into the ocean to shield the pipeline from future damage. Unfortunately, the rock wall also shielded nearby Dockweiler Beach from large ocean swells.

Surfers -- who long ago had come to grips with the loud jets taking off over their heads and the Hyperion sewage plant effluent beneath their boards -- quickly complained about the sudden disappearance of Dockweiler's ridable waves.

After a lengthy study, Chevron acknowledged that its jetty was responsible for flattening the surf. The company agreed to help pay for the artificial reef after experts suggested that an underwater barrier might restore at least some semblance of the beach's previous surf.

The firm's contribution was calculated in an appropriately artificial manner: the number of "lost" surfing days caused by the jetty were multiplied by the cost of an admission ticket to the Raging Waters theme park. The final amount came to about $300,000.

Surfers working through the Surfrider Foundation came up with a reef design proposal and set out to get approval of what would be the country's first man-made surf-inducing structure.

It turned out that 23 agencies had to sign off on the project, however. That took six years, and in the end it was agreed that the reef would be removable in case it didn't work or caused unexpected environmental problems. The permit specified that the reef would be reviewed in 10 years; the agreement could be extended after that.

That meant the structure couldn't be built out of rock, steel, wood piers or even junked cars stacked on the ocean floor. Instead, it would be made of sandbags.

By the time the first 14-ton sandbag was dropped from a barge about 300 feet offshore, the cost of filling them with clean construction sand had tripled. Organizers were forced to scale back the reef's size

When 110 of the behemoth black polypropylene sandbags were in place, surfers named the place in honor of legendary surfing activist Tom Pratte. He had championed the reef but died of cancer at age 44 before it was built.

As the 2000 surfing season arrived, wave riders waxed their boards and waited for the man-made reef to whip up the surf. It never happened.

Proponents of the reef decided to build it bigger. And they cautioned that Pratte's Reef was an experiment.

"Nobody ever promised the Banzai Pipeline," said the reef's designer, Encinitas marine engineer David Skelly, himself an avid surfer. "Everyone knew there wasn't enough money. What blew me away was that the surfing industry didn't come up with a million bucks for this."

The Surfrider Foundation set out to raise $50,000 more to increase the reef to its originally intended size and put out a call for donations of clean sand. The Coastal Conservancy kicked in a $200,000 grant. Soon, 90 more bags -- this time made from a tougher white polyester -- were used to enlarge the reef to its 245-foot-wide V shape.

For a time, the reef seemed to produce a slight bump on the water, raising hopes for shapely waves to come. But that didn't last long either.

Divers who surveyed the reef earlier this year found that many of the bags had been dislodged by wave action, sunk in the muck or covered over by the ever-shifting ocean bottom.

"The reef is completely buried most places. In other places it's only a foot and a half high. It's in about 10 to 14 feet of water," said Craig Leidersdorf, whose Chatsworth engineering firm has monitored the reef for the Surfrider Foundation. "The reef would have worked if it was higher and wider."

Leidersdorf, who has surfed for 40 years, said some of the bags are ripped and deteriorating. Those of black polypropylene have fared the worst.

Foundation leaders decided to remove the reef now to prevent chunks of the bags from breaking loose and washing up on the shore. A $300,000 anonymous donation is being used to pay for a four-person team of divers from Alaska working from a 70-foot boat to pull up the bags. The intact sandbags are dragged ashore by a cable attached to a bulldozer on the beach.

Delays in getting a permit to use equipment on the beach stalled the project last week. Divers were able to haul up only small pieces of sandbag to their boat, said Chad Nelsen, the foundation's environmental director.

Nelsen, a Laguna Beach resident who has 30 years of surfing experience, wrote a thesis on Pratte's Reef for his environmental management master's degree at Duke University. He labeled the reef a success -- even if it didn't produce the peeling wave that surfers were looking for.

"Approval of the reef was the first time the state Coastal Commission recognized surfing. It's just that it took 17 years to get it built," he said.

That sentiment was echoed by 43-year surfing activist Glenn Hening of Oxnard Shores. "It was monumental having every agency signing off on creation of a surfing park," he said.

Hening, a teacher and environmental consultant who was a co-founder of the Surfrider Foundation before leaving in a dispute with its leadership, said he fears the organization is turning its back on the sport.

"I think Tom Pratte would be appalled that Surfrider is walking away from what at the time was an extremely important victory," he said. "Surfrider should look at the explosion of surfing in the last five years. Surfers are trying to find an uncrowded wave to surf. I would think it would want to expand the footprint" at Dockweiler rather than abandon it.

At the El Segundo beach, 21-year-old surfer Tom Pear agreed. "There's a lot of technology out there that could stimulate bigger sets of waves. It's just a matter of directing the way they break."

A good reef could lead to "some serious surfing" there, he said.

For now, though, Pratte's Reef is a wipeout.



C J Hobgood wins Mundaka

This was an awesome heat, it had everything happening:
* American vs Australian
* Goofy vs Natural
* Clean waves offering both tubes and wall
* Occy watching the heat with Damien Hobgood
* Both surfers super hungry for a win.
* And it all came down to the closing seconds of the heat!

Final Scores:
C J Hobgood - 18.50
Joel Parkinson - 15.83



Kelly Slater 9th World Title Interview

The day started with torrential downpours, hails storms and a peaking northwest swell. With that patent unflappable determination in his eyes, Kelly Slater arrived to the contest site 30 minutes before his heat. Already wearing his wetsuit and with board under arm, he snuck through the contest site, whistled at a little dog that was standing out in the rain, and proceeded to scurry down the Mundaka cliff, escaping into the maelstrom and away from the mess of shivering media. 40-minutes later, in a somewhat uneventful affair, Kelly would eliminate local Basque surfer Eneko Acero, thus clinching his much anticipated ninth world title. From there tradition took over. Kelly hoisted the title cup and was hucked into the Mundaka harbor. The following is his take from immediate post-heat interviews:

17 years ago you jumped on tour, could you ever have imagined that you’d get nine?

I never even thought about it. It never even popped into my head. It’s crazy.

Now that you’re here, what are your thoughts?

Uh, I don’t know. I was thinking I could ride my quad in my next heat and not worry about it.

This year you started off at Snapper and kind of didn’t really get a lot of attention until you won it. You kind of snuck through, while all the attention was on Mick repeating, and the talent field as deep as it is, what are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, I kind of forgot about that until you brought it up. I really felt like I flew under the radar in that event because there was so much focus on Jordy and Dane making the tour, and obviously back at Mick’s spot he’s the defending champ, so I was just sort of sneaking around at that event and making it through heats. And honestly, I didn’t have my heart set on doing the tour this year. A lot of people think I was messing with them or something, and some guys think I was just saying that because it does something for me mentally, and maybe it does, but I wasn’t going to go to Bells. Then I went and got that win, and at that point I thought it was either a great time to stop, or a great time to get it in order and go for it, and that’s what ended up happening.

A lot’s been said about the rumors of 10 million dollars for 10 titles, are you prepared to make a statement about your tour status for next year?

Oh, I’d love it if somebody gave me 10 million bucks for 10…if I could do that.

So are you going to come back and compete?

Ummm, ummm. It’s tough, you know.

I know you’re eyeballing Shane Dorian and his lifestyle all the time?

Part of me loves this, and obviously I’ve got goals. I’ve had goals my whole life, you know, trying to win world titles and stuff like that. But then I love surfing, and I love just catching good waves. I’ve been seeing all that stuff back on the East Coast, and I haven’t been to North Carolina in years. I keep seeing all these pictures, and know Cory [Lopez] has been scoring waves all over the world. Then I see Shane and he’s got a pretty good lifestyle. He goes to Tavi and Bali a few times a year, and then gets to stay at home. So you know, I mean that’s super inviting, but it’s always there, so we’ll see what happens.

In terms of this tour title, how does it rate against the other eight, or has it sunk in?

Not really. It wasn’t like a super climactic finish. I had to make it through that heat, and if I didn’t I was going to have to sit and watch how Taj did, then have to watch how he did in Brazil, so it wasn’t one of those really down-to-the-wire kind of things that’s pretty exciting for sport or for contests. But it’s definitely nice to get it out of the way.

So in terms of your surfing goals, have you reached all your goals or are there other mountains to climb?

Oh yeah, always. Surfing’s a constant challenge. No matter how old you get you feel like you’re always improving. I’m sure when I’m 80 I’ll be thinking I’m still getting better. There’s still a lot to learn. I love experimenting with boards, surfing new waves, going to new places. You know, it’s my life, so it’ll never end.

In terms of sport, some people have put you on the same level as Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. Do you think you are worthy my man?(Dumb ass GT)

That's not nice...I'm just happy to do the best I can with what I have. I may be on that level to other people, but I’m just satisfied with where I’m at.

You won five events out of seven this year, do you think you’re surfing the best you ever have?

I don’t know. I’m a better surfer than I’ve ever been, but I wouldn’t say that I go out and surf my best in every heat. I didn’t think I surfed very good in France at all. I feel like I kind of kooked out in that contest. I just sort of made it through heats and got the right waves. It’s one of those contests that if you get the right waves you’re going to make it through your heat, and that’s what I did. And I didn’t surf any exceptional heats just now, I got the scores I needed and luckily made it through. But definitely when you get in this position the screws start tightening, you start feeling the pressure. You just want the day to end.

All year long people have been saying 10, but you keep saying let me win nine first. Now you’ve won nine, what about 10?

Yeah, like I said, it hasn’t even sunk in yet.

It must have been pretty special surfing against a Basque surfer out there?

Yeah, it was quite ironic to have a Basque guy. You know, I’ve got to hand it to Eneko [Acero], he wasn’t going to give me one inch of room out there. You know, he got that first score, then he paddled around me and started hassling me a little bit. I started getting a little pissed for a second there, but then I thought, you know what, this is as important for him as it is for me and why should he give me any room. Then I sort of got myself back together. I wasn’t emotional about it, it was just another heat, but you know, there were a few waves that snuck under us in that heat and hit the inside shelf. I think I got two like that under his priority and that’s what made the difference.

Is it a bit disappointing Mick’s not here to hand off the trophy?

No, it’s fine. I understand. He wanted to be home. It’s a long year. I mean, our year is too long as it is, and Mick’s congratulated me at the last two events, and said good things, so there’s no hard feelings there at all.

You still have the potential for a perfect season if you drop three events and win eight you’ve got yourself a perfect season. Thoughts?

I didn’t think about that. I guess so, theoretically.


Who is the best Tiger Woods or Kelly Slater?

All year the commentators have compared Kelly Slater to Tiger Woods. I think Kelly is sick of it, as he is apparently good at both sports.I think when Slater retires from surfing he will go for the PGA at which point he will throw down the challenge to Tiger Woods, to strap on a leggie and hit the WQS, to see who is really the best.


Kelly Slater Claims 9th World Title in Mundaka

Well it is official, Kelly has won his 9th World title. Perhaps because we all knew it would happen today, maybe because it is his 9th title, who knows, but this win as monumental as it is, seemed a little lack luster.
That said, Kelly has done something amazing, he has surfed the best competitive year of surfing on record and done it at a time when he should be on his way out of the top seeded surfers. Kelly has proven that age doesn't play a factor when you have the drive, focus and raw ambition to win. congrats Kelly! You are the king!
I wonder if Kelly will go for the 10th next year?