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|One more heat and Slater will have clinched a record eleven ASP World Titles. It could all come down tomorrow if Ocean Beach will cooperate.|
In a career that spans 20 years, $3,030,755 in prize money and 48 World Tour victories, on Wednesday, Kelly Slater may very add an eleventh ASP World Title to the tally. He's always been a numbers man, and thus, he knew exactly what he needed to do going into this week's 2011 Rip Curl Search in San Francisco.
"I just need to catch four good waves in this event to win the title," Slater noted after crossing two of said waves off the list Tuesday in balmy Ocean Beach conditions.
With a swell that's supposed to peak overnight, and pleasant offshore winds that are supposed to hang through the day on Wednesday, it appears it's all systems go for Slater. Event organizers pushed through all of round one and half of round two on Tuesday, intent on making the most of the fickle San Francisco conditions. Word around the city is that you can look for the contest to start at 8 a.m., in which case Slater would have his chance to clinch in round three, heat six, which would be around mid-day or early afternoon local time.
|Hippy to Dusty Payne: "Dude, that shark like totally had the munchies."|
Should Slater win Wednesday it will be on the one-year anniversary of Andy Irons' death, a fact not lost on Slater. He called mourning the loss of his friend and rival and winning a World Title a "bittersweet mix of emotions."
Beyond World Title mania there were two things that stood out about day one. First, people got sunburned, and in a city usually veiled in a shroud of fog, that's a very good thing. The conditions remained relatively favorable, and while not the best surf they've seen on tour all year, it was perfectly servicable by local standards.
The second thing that made Tuesday great was that Dusty Payne was chased out of the water by a shark and nobody really paid it any mind.
"I've seen dolphins before and that wasn't a dolphin," affirmed Payne. "That's the biggest fin I've ever seen in my life and it came straight for me. The waves are terrible so I just opted to stay in instead of deal with the shark."
|Matt Wilkinson embraced the Haight culture and went with a cosmic wetsuit.|
This comes directly on the heels of a shark attack over the weekend at a beach outside of Monterey that could very easily have taken the life of a surfer.
But it was almost as if nobody believed Payne, like he was crying wolf. Jordy Smith, who he was surfing against, didn't exit the water or make much of a fuss. "If he saw a shark he saw a shark," said Smith. "I didn't really see what was going on."
ASP officials didn't clear the lineup or put the contest on hold. Wonder what their insurance agent thought? "Shark attack" probably doesn't look all that good on a claim. But at least hysteria didn't grip the beach and paranoia didn't reign supreme.
And see, the shark didn't eat Kelly after all.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 12.50, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.80, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.50
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.60, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.43, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.00
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.67, John John Florence (HAW) 10.67, Daniel Ross (AUS) 7.00
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.10, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.87, Tom Whitaker (AUS) N/S
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.67, Owen Wright (AUS) 6.10, Dillon Perillo (USA) 4.86
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.03, Kai Otton (AUS) 10.90, Dean Brady (AUS) 9.97
Heat 7: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.10, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.43, Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.33
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.53, Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.23, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.77
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.10, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.77
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.40, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.33, Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.37
Heat 11: Chris Davidson (AUS) 16.10, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.26, Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.10
Heat 12: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.77, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.30
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.16 def. Dean Brady (AUS) 8.07
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.60 def. Dillon Perillo (USA) 6.50
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.57 def. Taylor Clark (USA) 8.76
Heat 4: Daniel Ross (AUS) 14.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.00
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Kai Otton (USA)
Heat 10: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 11: Tiago Pires (PRT) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)