Kelly Slater wins Tahiti Pro
Kelly Slater, who is forty four years old, wins the Tahiti Pro 2016, his 55th event win in a career spanning three decades. | Photo: WSL

Dazzling: Kelly Slater Wins Tahiti Pro!

Combos John John Florence in final!

A few minutes ago, Kelly Slater grabbed the lingering, perhaps final win, of his three-decade career, combo-ing John John Florence in the final of the Tahiti Pro.

Kelly included a 9.77 and a 9.90 in his heat total of 19.67. John John, who suffered a possible knee injury on one wipeout, scored an eight and 7.23 for a combined total of 15.23.

The win propelled forty-four-year-old Kelly eleven places on the tour ratings, from nineteenth to eighth place.

His last three results now include a third, a fifth and a first.

Did you watch the contest? Did you, too, have the sense that Kelly, who has won the Tahiti Pro five times, and who ran a perfect heat in round five against Bruno Santos, was impossible to beat? That this might be his last wonderful gesture?

“I had my hand on this trophy two years (growling)… and I let it go!” said Kelly, afterwards. To the naysayers, he admitted that as a WCT level surfer, y’gotta “be heavily scrutinised.”

As for the fairly ludicrous attempts to drag him into the world title game, “I only have another 18,000 points to catch those guys,” he said wryly.

Let’s examine the highlights!

First the final!

Now see Julian and John John’s quarterfinal here.

Kelly wins the Andy Irons award!

See John John’s road to the final…

And Kelly’s…

1: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.67
2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.23

SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.10
SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 19.66 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.23

QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 17.43
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.90 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.40
QF 4: John John Florence (HAW) 17.34 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60

Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.60
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20.00 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.70
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.33
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 18.30 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.90

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 39,900 pts
2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,000 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,700 pts
4. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 26,200 pts
5. Julian Wilson (AUS) 25,200 pts

WSL: “Thank God for Mormons!”

It is a great day in professional surfing! Kelly vs. JJF in final! Hurry up! Tune in!

And are you watching the World Surf League’s final day right now? It doesn’t get much better. Maybe not any better. 10s are raining down from heaven, from the very pockets of Angel Moroni himself!

Joseph Smith is there smiling. So is Brigham Young!

And are you watching Gabe Medina vs. John John Florence in semi 2? It is near brilliant! They are trading near 10s! TRADING NEAR 10s!

Best heat of all time?


(except how depressed does Pottz sound when Medina gets a 10 and pushes into the lead?)

Yesterday, Jordy Smith and Matt Banting refused to surf, thereby killing the League.

But Joel Parkinson was God’s vehicle to use Mormon power to resurrect the League from the dead! To pluck it from the grave, dust it off and set it upon a shining pedestal! Joel lost to John John this morning because that was also Mormon’s will. Who wants to watch old men when we have supple boys to cheer?

Bring them young!

Except with Medina in the lead it looks like it is going to be Kelly Slater vs. Gabe in the final.

Still brilliant! Still young since Kelly refuses to age!

(Pottz is massively depressed though. Like, maybe suicide watch depressed. He loves JJF.)

No seer stones needed to appreciate this day of professional surfing’s beauty.

And guess what just happened?


Pottz is off suicide watch! JJF takes the lead and will meet Kelly in the final!

Pottz and the WSL will both convert!

They are Latter-Day Saints!

We all are!

Kelly Slater 10 point ride
Are you fascinated by Kelly Slater's ability to wrangle a foamball? | Photo: WSL

Kelly Slater’s Perfect 20-point heat!

Watch the replay here!

One would be inclined to believe that no matter where Kelly Slater goes, he has a pretty good time. Two hours ago at the Tahiti Pro, Slater, who is 44 years old and rated 19th in the world, conjured two tens in a round five heat against the Hawaiian Keanu Asing.

“The first 10 of that heat was a more difficult ride definitely, but the second one was a bigger, more perfect, classic tube,” said Slater. “I just thought that the first one was a lot more difficult, so I was not sure if they would throw a 10 on the second one. Had I got the second one in any other heat I thought that they would probably give me a 10. I have been feeling good all week. My first heat was a little slow and I had to grind out that first win against Michel [Bourez]. That is just how close the Championship Tour is nowadays. Had Keanu [Asing] gotten that wave, I would have lost. That heat was really close. A perfect heat is not going to happen many times in your life so I am stoked.”

Watch here!


Wilkinson eyes the yellow jersey as John John steals it from his back...
Wilkinson eyes the yellow jersey as John John steals it from his back...

Thanks for laughs, Matt Wilkinson!

The boy from Copacabana made us believe before crashing to earth and joining his ilk. But oh how we smiled along the way!

And it was a very fun run, was it not? Matt “Wilko” Wilkinson, the boy with stringy brown hair and amusing wetsuits. The boy with a crooked tooth’d easy smile. The boy who cracked under pressure in Trump-like fashion and suggested one of his detractors, the esteemed Fred Pawle, “deserved a flogging” for calling him a yobbo. Or maybe it was because Mr. Pawle also said that Wilkinson “isn’t pretty.”

But he isn’t and that is his joy! He is not cut from granite or from a hunk of Krypton like our dear Kelly Slater. He is cobbled together with mud and clay and little bits of discarded straw like the rest of us.

Having him sit atop the Jeep Leaderboard (look Joe Turpel! Your dull hammer is working! Jeep Jeep Jeep leaderboard!) for all these many months and through all these many events has been… well, it has been an inspiration.

And now a rightful champion, Medina or John John, will go and wrest the yellow jersey from Wilko’s imperfect hand but what will he do?

Will he cling to his precious like a Gollum, crouched in a corner, baring his teeth to all who come near? Will he relinquish easily and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he can go back to being a light-hearted clown prince once again?

Will he realize that being a clown prince is not his stock anymore and emerge from his yobbo cocoon to strike a blow for the rest of us?

Can Matt Wilkinson win it all at the end?

For us?

(no, but fun to think anyhow!)


Kelly slater perfect ten tahiti
We're all believers of magic and nothing thrills more than watching surfing's great Houdini, Kelly Slater, squeezing a perfect ten out of a three-foot insider. | Photo: WSL

Day 3 Tahiti: “A cache of gold nuggets!”

Kelly swipes perfect ten, loses heat. Kolohe roars alive!

After a fruitless comb of the Teahupoo ghetto this morning, you might’ve recoiled at its…slow…slow…slow. At its enforced idleness. A crummy swell forecast. Now or never.

Were you of the opinion that the umbrella organisation that owns professional surfing had finally announced its failure? Chas Smith did, for an hour or so. Read here. At least until a crew of Mormons appeared and made good the world. Read here. 

I’m of the belief that surfers, at least those surfers interested in professional surfing for more than the bang and pop and ostentatiousness of big Pipe or Teahupoo, find an exuberance in the chess-like machinations of these sorts of small days. We appreciate the surfers who can fortune tell a west bowl before it breaks. The surfers who’ll swing onto the inside and into smaller, more perfect waves that cling to the reef.

I’m also of the belief that a good event runs on momentum. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve forgotten a contest was still running ’cause of lay-days, half-days and endless standbys to deal with wavering tides. A contest run over four consecutive days in occasionally good waves will always steal the show from a stuttering, two-week marathon.

Today was a cache of gold nuggets.

Did you see Kolohe’s almost-ten pulled from under Jordy’s gaping, stunned nostrils? Two minutes to go? Needs a banger? Woof! Watch it here.

Did the Slater-Santos (and Buchan) heat peel you off your chair?

Kelly Slater scores a beautiful ten, a surprising ten, scooped off the inside by virtue of his foamball jockeying, and then wildcard Bruno Santos throws Kelly into round five with  pair of nines.

The contest wraps tomorrow with round five, the quarters, semis and the final. A six-thirts am start. Who you gonna pick?

(Full results soon…)