The standard of surfing at the Boost Mobile Pro pres. by Hurley was nothing short of electrifying today, but per usual, it was eight-time ASP World Champion and ratings leader Kelly Slater (USA) who stole the show.
With a 9.17 and 9.60 in his Round 4 scoreline, Slater had opponent Kieren Perrow (AUS) needing a combination of scores to beat him with half the heat to go. Still, with 20 seconds remaining, Slater pulled out all the stops and stamped his authority on the heat by posting the first and only perfect 10 of the event thus far.
“I’m not sure it was a 10 – it was a good ride though,” Slater said with a smile. “There was some bump on it, but I was able to get just steep enough in the pocket to get a vertical bang on it and I got that reverse at the end and stuck it.”
Slater surfed twice today, beating wildcard and former ASP World Champion Sunny Garcia (HAW) in Round 3 and then Perrow in Round 4. His upcoming quarterfinal opponent Bobby Martinez (USA) was among a bevy of standout surfers today.
Martinez made his heat with a 9.87 and 8.50 to find himself matched up with the Slater, the two-time and reigning Boost Mobile Pro Champion. The two recently went head to head in Fiji, with Slater victorious there, but barely.
“The surfing has been great,” Slater said. “There was some really good surfing in the heat before mine with Bobby (Martinez) and Kai (Otton). Bobby just ended up out-classing him, so we’ve got a rematch now. I’m not sure how I want to approach it just yet – maybe just like that last heat. Lay it on rail.”
Slater’s pick for form surfer of the event – Dane Reynolds (USA) – wowed again today and took out World No. 2 Joel Parkinson (AUS). Currently campaigning for a record ninth world title, Slater was obviously pleased about that, but isn’t letting his guard down. Always the mathematician, he is already looking at how the ratings will change when the surfers start to their two low results – only 9 of 11 events count toward an ASP World Tour surfer’s final tally.
“I think that it’s a little tricky, because if you two results he’s in fourth or fifth, so Bede (Durbidge) or Mick (Fanning) actually have better results if you take the top five out of the seven results we have so far,” Slater said. “Joel has been the form surfer of the event. Him and Dane (Reynolds), Jordy (Smith) and Bede (Durbide) have really stood out as well. If I’m able to make it through my Quarterfinals heat I’ll either face Bede (Durbidge) or Dane (Reynolds) and that’d be great.”
Slater lost to World No. 3 Bede Durbidge (AUS) in the Boost Mobile Pro final in 2006. Durbidge lit up Lower Trestles in a similar fashion today – eliminating fellow Aussie Luke Stedman when he posted a 9.17 and 9.40 to amass an 18.57 out of 20.00 heat total.
“It was a tough heat with Stedman,” Durbidge said. “He got that 8.5 and I knew I had to step it up a bit and I got that nine. He was still within striking distance. I got that last wave and just went for it. I was able to pull off that big turn off and I knew it would be a good score if I rode through it. Then Stedman needed a 10 and it took the pressure off a bit.”
Durbidge is still an outside title threat, and with a win, he could easily reclaim the world No. 2 spot.
“I’d like to get a win,” Durbidge said. “There are a lot of heats to go, but I’d love to get that feeling back of the win, but I’m just going to take it one heat at a time. It’s just so fun out there. Trestles is just so rippable and you can really push your turns and I’m just going to take it one heat at a time.”
With five minutes to go, rookie Dane Reynolds (USA) needed a 4.94 to win his heat against Parkinson. He upped the anty with a last second wave to earn 9.33 and a spot in the quarters against Durbidge.
“That was the wave of the day and I really just had to ride it to get my score,” Reynolds said. “If I tried to get a five on the best wave of the day I probably would have fallen on the first turn. I just tried to ride it normal and ended up coming through with the huge score.”
Reynolds is now assured an equal fifth or better placing – his best result this year was a fifth at Bells Beach.
“I just hope it keeps pumping like this because I love Trestles,” Reynolds said. “I’m surprised to get this far so I’m not going to say I’m going to make it further than my next heat because I just don’t know.”
France’s Jeremy Flores scraped his way into Quarterfinal 3 with a last minute victory against the tour’s top rated Brazilian surfer, Adriano de Souza.
“I thought that last wave was going to close out when I took off,” Flores said. “It opened up though and I got the score. It was kind of hard to surf because of the sections, but it was so much fun. I felt good and I thought I wasn’t going to do anything special because of my ankle because the more I surf the more it hurts, but it felt okay in that heat. Adriano (de Souza) has beat me twice this year, so it felt good to beat him.”
The Frenchman will meet reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) – who beat Taylor Know (USA) today – in the next round.
“Finally, I haven’t passed the fourth round since Bells,” Flores said. Now I get to surf against Mick (Fanning) and it’s going to be so fun. If I win, I win and if I don’t, I don’t. To be able to go out and have fun and surf with your favorite surfers is the best thing in the world.”
The last two heats of Round 4 will be the first action in the water when the Boost Mobile Pro resumes. Heat 7 is a scorcher with Taj Burrow (AUS) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) both looking to secure a spot in the quarters. Heat 8 pits rookies Jay Thompson (AUS) and Heitor Alves (BRA) against one another to see who will exit the event equal 9th and who will go further either way, their results at the Boost Mobile Pro will be personal bests for both surfers.
Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow morning at 7 and event organizers are hoping to run the last nine heats of the Boost Mobile Pro. If everything goes according to plan the final should hit the water between around 1 pm.