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On Friday, October 3 in Mundaka, Spain, surfing legend Kelly Slater secured his 9th Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Title, making him the most winning surfer in history. The big win comes 16 years after he won his first ASP World Title at the age of 20, and 5 years after his so-called retirement. At 36, Kelly Slater was the youngest to win and now the oldest to win the coveted position of ASP World Champ.
In a recent ASP press release about Kelly’s win, when asked if he had ever dreamed about achieving such a feat when he came onto the scene 17 years ago, Slater was close to speechless. “I never even thought about it,” Slater said. “It never even popped into my head. It’s crazy.”
Despite having come out of retirement, 2008 has been incredible for Kelly with 5 wins in the first part of the year, a second and a 4th. What was the difference this year? “I felt a lot more at ease. It’s probably my personal life. That’s the biggest change in my life. I’m happy and settled and I’ve got the support there that just feels amazing. Nothing else has really changed, I’ve worked with my boards a little bit here and there and I’ve always worked on my mind and my emotions, but something just really clicked into place this year.”
After winning the title 5 times in a row from 1994 to 1998, Kelly went into semi-retirement saying he was burned out. But he came back fulltime in 2003 and lost in the end to Andy Irons when it came down to the wire during the Banzai Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu, which Label Networks covered in full detail (search “surfing” for more). However he came back and reclaimed the crown in 2005, 3rd in 2007, and now 1st in 2008.
Big-wave surfing season is coming up shortly with the Vans Triple Crown of surfing, the crowned jewel events of the year that attract the best top international surfers, starting with the Reef Hawaiian Pro November 12-23; then the O’Neill World Cup November 24-December 6; Women’s Roxy Pro November 24-December 6; Women’s Billabong Pro December 8-20; ending with the most coveted event, the Banzai Pipeline Masters sponsored this year by Billabong. For more information about the events, check out Label Networks’ new Events section at www.labelnetworks.com.
For those interested in more on Kelly Slater, here are some ASP stats:
- ASP Records Held by Kelly Slater:
- Most ASP World Titles: Nine (2008, 2006, 2005, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1992)
- Most ASP World Tour Victories: 39
- Oldest ASP World Champion: 36-years-old (2008)
- Youngest ASP World Champion: 20-year-old (1992)
- Highest Heat Total: Only perfect 20 out of 20 ever earned (Tahiti %u2013 2005)
- Most Event Wins in a Season: Seven in 1996