no. 11 on the horizon   Leave a comment

Remember that theory everyone had about one ten time world champion becoming disinterested and disenchanted with the world tour and his competitive legacy? Well that went right out the window within the last month. That notion can’t hold true when you consider that he bulldozed through ninety-six plus guys (most of whom weren’t even on the world tour). We’re talking scrapping qualifiers, dynamic free surfers, heavily totted amateurs, and even a few legends…and Kelly carved them all up. Poor Yadin Nichols discovered what nearly every one of his former opponents has discovered in that final on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Get to work early and keep Kelly off good scoring waves and hope he doesn’t scrap out scores in decent looking waves. Yeah…I don’t think that strategy took.

Going into Tahiti, despite Parko holding on to a slim lead above Jordy, he needed to scratch a result. I was calling quarters and he’s absolutely capable of that. Instead, he floundered in round one and his fate was sealed when he couldn’t find an exit from a frothy tube that most would have scored an eleven. Good for Jordy, right? Well, not really. You couldn’t have created a more perfect storm literally or figuratively for Kelly because no more than twenty-four hours after assuming the number one position Jordy lost. Ditto for Taj, Mick, and Adriano. Even though Kelly was sitting in sixth, the other five guys ahead of him were dropping like flies and easing his path to the final against an in form Owen Wright. Credit where it’s due because there’s not many guys in the world who could shred two foot Brazil and then come out and man handle eight to ten foot Tahiti. The final proved to be a great shoot out but the end it was Kelly’s ability to get deeper on his backhand that got him the win. Even though his lead is slim, he still finds himself in a very familiar place…number one.

It’s no secret that to some extent there’s a fair bit of resentment for Jimmy Slade on tour. When is the guy going to hand his skates up? Will he retire this year? Judging by a quote in his post tenth world title interview, he’s not going away anytime soon. Not until someone starts “putting him out to pasture”. Well the last guy with that capability suffered a life altering mental and physical meltdown a year ago (RIP). Don’t get me wrong. I was banging the retirement drum post no. 10 just like everyone else in the hopes of more parity and intrigue on tour. However, when he’s constantly evolving his game to match and often times exceed the level of performance of the best surfers in the world then this isn’t a guy we should be going in on. This is a guy we should be celebrating.

 

-Trav

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Posted September 12, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

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