Event No. 10 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series, the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco will play a pivotal role in determining the 2011 ASP World Champion.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Search champion, looked sharp this morning while opening his campaign in San Francisco, navigating through several barrels and releasing committed turns to earn a 16.03 heat total out of a possible 20 and a Round 1 heat victory.
"I'm stoked because I went out last night and the surf was tough, the waves were real flat and I had boots and gloves and a hood so that I could go back and feel more comfortable out there today with less rubber on,"
Slater said. "The conditions today were a lot more fun. The water is like Jbay and I thought it'd be colder, it's probably upper 50's and it's not too bad."
Slater, the current frontrunner on the 2011 ASP World Title Race, needs to take a 9th place finish (or advance through one more heat) at the Rip Curl Pro Search to secure his unprecedented 11th crown.
"I'm going to try and just be relaxed about it because it's a situation where you could feel tense in and want to get it over with it," Slater said. "The reality of it is the other guys have to win both events with my last heat win so the pressure is on them. I don't feel like I can relax though because the guys now have to focus and that's when they could do something magic. That's how it goes in competition and I don't doubt that that's a possibility. It is close. I just need to catch four good waves in this event to win the title."
Slater also was quick to remember that tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of the passing of the late Andy Irons (HAW) and expressed that clinching his 11th ASP World Title would follow second in remembering the life of his friend.
"The globe's a cool trophy and if I happen to make it out of the next round I've love to win this contest," Slater said.
"Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Andy's passing away and it's going to be a sad and happy day in remembering him and if Ironically if I can win the world title on that day it'd be secondary to the memory of Andy."
The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco is Stop No. 10 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series with a waiting period from November 1-12. The 2011 Pro Search will be broadcast live on Fuel TV, Livestream.com and live.ripcurl.com
For additional information log on to www.aspworldtour.com