There was a lotta hoopla following Mick Fanning’s world title clencher on Saturday. Specifically, in the judge’s final decision to award him that 9.7 against Yadin Nicol in the Quarters. Of course there’s always hoopla when it comes to judging, every surf fan and surf fans’ mother-in-law thinks they’re an expert. And obviously a lot was riding on that single wave-- that single score.
The rest is history, Mick needed a 9.57 and that controversial wave earned him a 9.73 to beat Yadin and win the 2013 world title. Kelly Slater, an inevitable Pipe Masters win and all, still didn’t have the points to beat Mick’s final 2013 score. Commenters on the Internet-- most of them, clearly American Slater-philes, erupted in slander and all-out cry-babiness. “He was overscored!” or “Shame on you ASP!” they whined.
But Kelly, always one to be, well, on his iPhone, released a poignant statement on Instagram a couple days a go that went like this:
“There are so many should-haves and could-haves in life. Be happy with the #WhatIs and do better next time you have the chance.” Amen, Slates. Now, that’s a complete athlete. Slater had (and has) much of the world behind him, he’s the most talented surfer on the planet, is a real mensch. And loses (the title, mind you) like am 11x world champ. He didn’t storm the judges tower and demand a recount, nor feed into the haters’ wildfire. He congratulated the new world champ and reflected on one of the most incredible events many of us have ever watched. (Thanks webcast!)
It’s pretty certain that World No. 2 Kelly Slater doesn’t like that prefix added to his name and will be on Tour next year, trying to get that number lower. I’d be willing to bet on that. Also, the more I watch Mick’s wave in the Quarters…the more I’m certain it was a 9.7. That tube was effin perfect.