Four events down, seven to go. Let’s cut to the chase. We need to haul Kelly Slater in pretty soon or he’s going to bolt away from the rest of us and make this year’s world championship a no-race.
“He’s raised the bar to a new level and basically said: ‘Top that, boys.’ It’s now up to us to pick up that gauntlet he has laid down.”
I’m pretty sure there’s never been a year on the ASP where we’ve been four contests in and had only one winner from within the top 44. But that’s the state of play with Kelly winning three of the four and the other one going to a wildcard. It’s fair to say the rest of us in the top 44 are pretty keen to see that sequence broken, starting with JBay next month!
Kelly’s surfing has been amazing this year. He’s raised the bar to a new level and basically said: ‘Top that, boys”. It’s now up to us to pick up that gauntlet he has laid down.
For me, that means concentrating on what I’m doing rather than what Kelly’s doing. At No. 3 and with seven events to go, I feel I can stay in the race. I know guys like Parko, Taj, Mick, CJ Hobgood, Andy Irons, Jeremy Flores and Adrian De Souza feel the same way.
The last two contests were a mixed bag for me. I didn’t do as well as I wanted in Tahiti but then most of us in the top 10 had early exits at Teahupoo. I was happier with a quarter final appearance in Fiji and I feel like I’m improving every year in those South Pacific waves .
I thought Parko had a strong leg there and was surfing awesome at times. And CJ emphasised just how good he surfs in those howling lefts.
Kelly blew minds in Fiji. The closest he came to losing was in the quarters against Bobby Martinez. He looked gone for all money against Bobby until he got a crazy last wave and once again pulled a vital heat out of the bag.
We had quite a bit of down time during the waiting period between swells. But in Fiji, you don’t mind that because there’s just so much other cool stuff to do.
I did heaps of fishing (although my record didn’t improve from Tahiti…I’m having a shocker when it comes to the reel). Parko and a couple of the others caught all my fish. We all had some pretty competitive ping pong and pool sessions while some of the other guys went to the mainland to get in some golf ,stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling. At night it was lots of karaoke (hail Occy, the king of karaoke!)
That’s why Fiji is my favourite contest, It’s like going on a 5-star holiday where you get to compete in an event that features perfect surf. Definitely the best comp on the tour!