SOMEWHERE, Porta Del Sol/Puerto Rico - Kelly Slater (USA), 38, newly-crowned 10-time ASP World Champion, has claimed his 45th elite tour event, taking down the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico over Bede Durbidge (AUS), 27, in pumping three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves in Porta Del Sol.
Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico has been an event of extremes.
Last Tuesday, the international sporting world was dealt a devastating blow with the tragic and unexpected loss of former three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World Tour competitor Andy Irons (HAW), 32.
After a somber two-day postponement of the event out of respect for Irons’s passing, the world’s best surfers roared back to life for two of the most high-performance days in surfing history.
Today, Slater clinched his historic and unprecedented 10th ASP World Title before going on to take out the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico, as comprehensive and dominant a performance as the sporting world has ever bore witness to.
“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.”
Slater, who would go on to post an incredible 18.77 out of a possible 20 in the Final, secured the event’s second Perfect 10, exhibiting a masterful display of diversity and control in the rippable afternoon conditions.
“The wave that did it for me was that first one in the Quarterfinals 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.”
Bede Durbidge (AUS), 27, missed the last ASP Dream Tour stop in Portugal to attend the birth of his first daughter, Willow, and today’s Runner-Up finish is a fitting return to form for the big natural-footer.
“I felt good going into the Final and like I was building momentum all the way through but Kelly (Slater) stopped me with that 10,” Durbidge said. “It’s still a fantastic way to come back though. I missed the last stop in Portugal to be there for the birth of my daughter, Willow, and I can’t wait to get home to her and my wife. I miss them both. We were all surfing for Andy (Irons) this week and everyone surfed amazing.”
Durbidge moves from ASP World No. 8 to ASP World No. 6 heading into the final stop in Hawaii.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, dispatched lethal rookie Owen Wright (AUS), 20, and current ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, this morning with his patented blend of non-compromising, power surfing. Although unable to overtake Durbidge in the Semifinals, today marks the best result for Bourez.
“Disappointed but very happy with my result,” Bourez said. “It’s my 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.”
Bourez’s Equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico moves the Tahitian from 10th to 9th on the ASP World Title Race rankings.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, was in sensational form in his Quarterfinal bout against Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, opening up with the first Perfect 10 of the event for one of the deepest barrels ever seen in Porta Del Sol through which he exited and proceeded detonate three solid turns before finishing.
“The wave was crazy,” Burrow said. “It came right and the start of the heat and as I pulled under the lip, the whole thing just engulfed me. I couldn’t see anything and then I felt myself push over the foam ball and come out. When I came out, the wave still had a really nice wall on it so I was able to click in a few turns. When you draw someone like Dane (Reynolds) you have to go full throttle the whole time.”
Burrow was unable to bypass Slater in the Semifinals, and will now focus his attentions on Hawaii.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.77
2 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.43