As the video above shows, if there was ever any question that 41-year-old Kelly Slater had lost his edge that assumption was quashed as he absolutely dominated the Volcom Fiji Pro. Earning his 53-world tour victory and second consecutive Fiji Pro title, the 11-time world champ flirted with perfection all day.
With the reef at Cloudbreak serving up a solid six-to-eight feet on the infamous ledge, there wasn't a breath of wind on it. In other words, it was perfect. Or as Slater pointed out, "The waves are the stars."
Others may say Slater was the star. In the quarterfinals he dropped a perfect 20-point heat score against Kauai's Sebastian Zietz. It was only the forth-perfect score in ASP history. Prophetically he remarked, "When the waves are this good I don't discount it happening a few more times."
You watch Kelly and you get to learn what's possible, I guess.
Then came the semifinals and Slater's much-anticipated matchup against John John Florence. The master and the student would do battle in all-time South Pacific conditions. The heat easily could have been a final, and repeatedly Slater's point to Florence as being a motivating factor for his quest for a 12th world title, which added to the drama. But again, Slater was not to be stopped.
"You watch Kelly and you get to learn what's possible, I guess," surmised Florence after bowing out.
The win over Florence advanced Slater into the final, where he would go up against a very focused and determined Mick Fanning. But focus and determination only gets one so far. Slater was on a role and was not to be denied. The greatest competitive surfer of all time proceeded to chalk up another perfect 10-point ride, and ultimately ended the heat with a 19.80 heat score…just two tenths of a point away from another perfect heat. Fanning could only take solace in the fact that he's now only 750 points away from Slater in the lead for the 2013 world title.
“What a day,” smiled Slater when the spray finally settled. “That was insane. When we started out in the Final, Mick had position and I was a little deep, but the next one was unbelievable. I want to dedicate this to my brother and his wife and their new kid Van. He told me that if I missed the birth of his son, that I’d better win, so this is for you. I want to say hi to everyone at home. What can I say, what a day.”