BANZAI PIPELINE, Hawaii - Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) has won the Billabong Pipeline Masters a record sixth time. The victory is Slater’s sixth of the 11 event 2008 ASP World Tour season.
Slater has made the Pipeline Masters final 10 out of the 17 times he has entered the event winning in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999 and again now. His 2008 win comes nine years after he last clinched the Pipeline crown in ‘99.
“My season is all about nines,” Slater said. “Winning this event nine years later, I needed a 9th in the ninth event of the year to win my 9th ASP World title, it’s crazy."
Slater paddled out in eight to 10 foot waves at Pipeline four times today, beating Chris Ward (USA) 14.00 to 7.23 in the in the first man-on-man final* held at the venue in eight years. Slater’s heat totals in the three heats prior to the final were 19.00, 18.63 and 19.40 – all out of a possible 20 points.
Ward’s final berth today is the second of his four-year ASP World Tour career. The Californian made the final of his first event on tour on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2005 but finished second there as well. His result today saw him jump from 27th to 14th on the year-end ratings.
"I placed better than last year and I would have loved that win but Kelly got all the good waves,” Ward said. “It was very hard out there, I think I missed a couple of good ones in the beginning but I am good. I’m happy."
Had Ward won the final, he would have won the 2009 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title too. He ended up finishing third in the ASP Specialty Series that rewards the surfer with the best Hawaiian season performance across three events.
"It was a great feeling to be in reach of the Triple Crown,” Ward said. “I would definitely love to do it again in the future so I will try again."
The Top 45 surfers on the 2009 ASP World Tour have been decided with surfers rated 1-27 on the 2008 ASP World Tour ratings automatically requalifying for the 2009 tour. Bede Durbidge (AUS) finished runner-up to the World Title which Slater claimed back in October.
ASP World Nos. 1-10 respectively are: Kelly Slater (USA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Mick Fanning (AUS), Bobby Martinez (USA) Jeremy Flores (FRA).
Surfers finishing ASP World Nos. 11-27 respectively are: Luke Stedman (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Andy Irons (HAW), Chris Ward (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dayyan Neve (AUS), Bruce Irons (HAW), Mikael Picon (FRA), Dane Reynolds (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Ben Dunn (AUS).
The Top 15 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfers in ranking order are: Nathaniel Curran (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Gabe Kling (USA), Jihad Khodr (BRA), David Weare (ZAF), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Greg Emslie (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA), Dustin Barca (HAW) Tiago Pires (PRT), Phillip MacDonald (AUS) and Drew Courtney (AUS).
The three 2009 tour wildcards, as decided by the ASP in conjunction with the surfer’s union, went to injury applicants Dean Morrison (AUS, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) and ASP WQS No. 16 Marlon Lipke (DEU).