Insight's Giant Killer Kai Otton
::Insight proudly salutes Kai Otton on his outstanding performances and result in this weeks’ Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil. Still his maiden year on the ASP’s World Championship Tour, the goofy footer gained international praise and attention today by defeating 8-time world champion Kelly Slater and ending the maestro’s chance at this year’s crown. Hours later, Mick Fanning was able to claim his maiden world title after Slater and nearest rival Taj Burrow was eliminated. Good on ya Mick!
But back to our boy Kai…. He’d already carved a stellar rookie season, posting a semifinal finish in Tahiti early this year to announce his arrival on the scene. Months later he again gained the spotlight in Chile by securing the highest wave score of the event, but today in Brazil he solidified surf stardom by stopping the seemingly unstoppable Slater at the most crucial of moments.
‘Ottz’ took down Brazilian hero Victor Ribas in round two and fellow Aussie Phil McDonald in the third. Against Kelly in the fourth, with the entire surfing world holding their breath to see if Slater could keep the title race alive, Kai stepped up to the plate and smashed the champ out of contention, leaving him needing a combination of scores to catch-up.
Kai then eliminated national Brazilian champion Leonardo Neves in the quarterfinals, and reached his first WCT final by taking down good mate Tom Whittaker in a nail-biting semi.
Against freshly crowned world champ Fanning in the finale, Ottz’s dream run unfortunately came to an end, one place short of the mark. Not even the giant killer could stop Mick today.
His runner-up finish pushed him into 9th position on the current ratings, and with only one event left in Hawaii next month, Kai remains a solid contender for the coveted ‘Rookie of the Year’ title. The guy thrives on big gnarly lefts like Pipeline, so ::Insight wish him all the best and will be cheering him on as he drops over the ledge and pulls into each wave he snags.
Check out www.insight51.com for more hype about Kai, the company responsible for his surfboards and fine threads, or just to avoid some real work today.