Slater Leads ASP Top 45 into Uncharted Waters for Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Search
Round 1 of the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Search event was completed today in excellent six-to-eight foot (2 metre) waves at the secondary site, “somewhere" in Indonesia.
Event No. 6 of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search bore witness to the world’s best surfers attacking a venue that many had never surfed before, all the while putting in some of the most electrifying Round 1 performances of the season.
Kelly Slater (USA), eight-time ASP World Champion and current ratings leader on the 2008 ASP World Tour, continued his dominating form today, posting the day’s only perfect 10 for an incredible double barrel on a solid eight-foot set.
“This is my first time ever surfing out here, ‘somewhere’," Slater said. “I’ve seen it a bit on a few videos and I watched it this morning a little bit on the high tide, but my heat was my first session out there. The wave is so good and you can just sit as deep as you want on the foam ball and it seems to let you out no matter what."
Slater, who has won four out of five events thus far on the 2008 ASP World Tour, posted the day’s highest heat total of a 19.17 out of a possible 20, putting the ASP Top 45 on notice for the remainder of the event.
“I’m taking it all heat by heat," Slater said. “I’m just cruising in Indo with some good friends and the waves are good so I’m having a great time here. Hopefully we’ll be back at this spot in two days for Round 3."
Slater’s incredible performance turned supernatural when, after netting his perfect 10, the Floridian phenom collected a 9.17 out of a possible 10 for an unbelievable switch-foot barrel that stunned onlookers and fellow competitors alike.
“I got a pretty good barrel out the back and then I faded my bottom turn as much as I could before pulling up into that section and I knew I would have to switch stance to make it a good score," Slater said. “When I did that, I lost all my speed and the barrel closed over me and I was able to reset and get under the lip before coming out again. Best switch-foot wave I’ve ever had."
Andy Irons (HAW), former three-time ASP World Champion and two-time defending champion of the Rip Curl Pro Search event (2006, 2007), was in sensational form today, netting an impressive 18.40 out of a possible 20 to advance past opponents Dane Reynolds (USA) and Dan Ross (AUS).
“It’s beautiful and wally out there and the waves are just draining all the way across the reef," Irons said. “It’s such a beautiful place and it’s so nice to surf with just two other guys. I’m really happy to be here."
Irons, currently sitting No. 8 on the 2008 ASP World Tour, could potentially gain some ground on this season’s ASP World Title race with a solid result in Indonesia, but the Hawaiian is taking a relaxed approach to this year’s event.
“I’m just happy to be here and it feels good to get the first heat out of the way," Irons said. “It’s great to be here in Indonesia with my beautiful wife Lindy and all my friends. I’m just cruising and taking it all in."
Joel Parkinson (AUS), current No. 2 on the 2008 ASP World Tour, matched Irons’ impressive heat total of an 18.40 out of a possible 20 today, blending fantastic backhand re-entries with inpressive tube-riding. Parkinson netted excellent scores in the opening minutes of the heat, putting opponents Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Bruno Santos (BRA) in combination situations early on.
“It’s really good out there right now and the waves just seemed to come to me," Parkinson said. “I got a couple of solid scores at the beginning and that set me up really well. The waves just seemed to come to me throughout the remainder of the heat, but Bruno (Santos) got that bomb and I had to go back to work there at the end."
Parkinson has had a remarkably consistent season in 2008, finishing no worse than equal 5th all year, but the current ASP World No. 2 understands that a victory in the next few events will be paramount to his 2008 ASP World Title campaign.
“I’ve had a solid year so far, but Kelly has just been untouchable basically," Parkinson said. “Myself and the rest of the boys really need to step it up and win an event here to gain some ground on him."
Mick Fanning (AUS), reigning ASP World Champion and past winner of the Rip Curl Pro Search (2005), is currently sitting at No. 4 on the 2008 ASP World Tour and survived a hard-fought Round 1 heat today against veteran Dream Tour campaigner Taylor Knox (USA) and lethal wildcard Owen Wright (AUS).
“The waves out there are great, but it just went lully towards the end of the heat and none of us could really get any waves," Fanning said. “There have still been some amazing heats today and I really hope the swell hangs around."
Bruce Irons (HAW), current No. 19 on the 2008 ASP World Tour, put on an incendiary performance this afternoon, collecting an impressive 9.77 out of a possible 10 to advance past Taj Burrow (AUS) and I Made Garut Widiart (IDN).
“The waves are really fun out here and these are the kind of waves I like surfing," Irons said. “I was just cruising around out there and picking off fun ones. That 9-something had a really good bowl on it and I hope the waves stick around for the rest of the comp."
Surfline, official forecasters for the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Search, are calling for today’s solid Southwest swell to maintain through tomorrow before gradually fading throughout the day.
Event organizers will reconvene at 7am tomorrow morning for a possible 7:30am start for Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Search “Somewhere" in Indonesia.