For the third consecutive year, 11-time surfing World Champion Kelly Slater, 40, has won the Hurley Pro surf competition at Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Beach. He took home a prize purse of $105,000 Thursday, as well as 10,000 World Championship Tour points.
Slater overtook Australian Joel Parkinson, 31, with a total heat score of 16.50, Parkinson’s score a 14.00.
“I had those heats where Joel seemed to get the good waves, I didn’t have my mojo,” said Slater. “I guess my bad waves over-took his good waves, but it’s been a real blessing to surf Trestles.”
This win moves Slater from fourth to third in the Association of Surfing Professional's rankings.
Sunny skies with patchy fog and three- to five-foot surf made for great conditions for the final day of the contest, which was moved from Saturday to Thursday. Lower Trestles is the sixth stop on the elite ASP World Championship Tour.
“These are the best sort of days and on the last days of the competition, we want to finish with as much swell we can possibly get,” ASP Contest Director Pat O’Connell told Patch. “Conditions are beautiful now that the fog is gone.”
For a brief, 45-minute window, patchy fog settled over the break making it hard for judges and spectators to watch the quarter-final heat of Brazilian match-up Gabriel Medina and Adriano De Souza. De Souza eliminated the fellow Brazilian, who won this year's Nike Lowers Pro.
The world’s top surfers produced an arsenal of fins-free carves, a plethora of aerial maneuvers as well as pure cat-and-mouse-like games in their heats.
In the semi-finals, Slater was matched up with Australian Mick Fanning, who is currently rated number one on the WCT and also took the win at Trestles in 2009. Though Fanning produced powerful carves on the infamous lowers right, Slater caught mostly lefts and launched a series of aerial maneuvers to over-take Fanning and go on to the finals, where he was matched with Parkinson.
“Parko [Parkison] needs this win more than Kelly, the win gives you the mojo,” said Announcer and surf legend Pete Townend. “It’s up to Parko to slap Kelly up side the head and say ‘this year it’s my turn.’ But Kelly’s not going to let him do it that easily.”
And right Townend was. As the south swell’s pace finally slowed down coupled with the outgoing tide, the final heat resulted in several lulls. A decent ride, though inconsistent, proved to be more than valuable in the heat’s 35-minute window for the two competitors. Both Slater and Parkinson launched aerial attacks on one another as well as a series of powerful carves bursting huge sprays, but in the end, luck was on Slater’s side as he scored a series of open-faced lefts as well as smaller inside waves allowing for Slater to gauge his rails into the face to produce some powerful carves. Both were fighting for priority
“I know I went out there feeling like I didn’t have anything to lose because Parko was the form guy,” Slater told ASP. “He was pretty much the standout in every round...I just figured I had to get myself on the best waves and let go a little bit...every contest I’ve won, there’s some moment where things go my way.”
The WCT will continue it’s tour in France for the Quiksilver Pro France on Sept. 28.
More photos of the day's event will be added to the slideshow.