American surfing sensation Kelly Slater (Florida, USA) has won a record ninth ASP World Title by advancing into round four of the Billabong Pro Mundaka today – the ninth event of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour. Grey skies and massive downpours couldn’t dampen the moment for the 36 year-old who has dominated the 2008 tour winning five of the eight events staged so far.
Slater’s 2008 crowning comes 16 years after claiming his first ASP World Title at age 20. He is the oldest and youngest surfer in ASP history to win a world title. Slater showed no signs of pressure in the world title deciding heat, tactical as ever against local Basque surfer Eneko Acero (EUK) winning the round three Billabong Pro Mundaka heat to once again rewrite the sports history books.
Thirty-one year old Acero opened quickly for an early heat lead in the 1.5 metre (4-6ft) river-mouth waves before a relaxed Slater took control midway and claimed his ninth crown with the heat win.
Despite entering his 14th year on tour already the owner of most every accolade in professional surfing, 2008 has been a banner year for Slater. Five wins in the first eight events of the year.
Slater won his first ASP World Tour title in 1992, claimed five titles in a row from 1994 to 1998 and then went into semi-retirement at age 26 citing burnout and lack of motivation. He returned to the tour full-time in 2003, lost a heart-wrenching title race to Andy Irons (HAW) that same year, and wasn’t able to reclaim the crown until 2005. Slater cruised to title No. 8 in 2006, finished World No. 3 in 2007 and is once again World No. 1 after winning his ninth ASP World Title today.