I was going through the thousands of photos I took, while down in Puerto Rico, at the Rip Curl Pro Search last November, and came across the one above. As soon as I saw it, the feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu came over me and I was reminded of the level ofÂ excitementÂ that was on the beach that day.
The competition had been called off for 2 days, in respect of the passing of Andy Irons, so everyone was still in shock and mourning when the heats started up again. With Round 5, Quarters, Semis and Final heats remaining there was still plenty of surfing to be done and the waves at Middles were pumping.
Kelly Slater had won his Round 4 heat against Adriano de Souza and Jeremy Flores, so he advanced straight through to the quarters. Jordy Smith, ranked number 2 at the time and the only surfer who could mathematically take the title from Kelly also won his Round 4 heat.
All Kelly needed to do was win his quarter-final heat against Adriano de Souza and theÂ elusiveÂ 10th World Title would be all his. Well, in true Slater fashion, he went absolutely mental. Before Adriano even caught one wave, Kelly had 4 scores which included a 9.00, a 9.87, and an 8.10 as his first 3 waves. At about the midway point of the heat Adriano caught his first wave but every single person on the beach knew the title was Kelly’s.
The next heat in the water was Jordy Smith vsÂ Michel Bourez and as Jordy was paddling out to the lineup, Kelly took off on yet another wave. Even though Jordy now had no chance at all to win the title, he was stoked that Kelly had just won number 10. In some form of perfect timing and positioning, Kelly and Jordy managed to high five each other as KS10 pumped down the line. I think the look on Jordy’s face sums it all up and it goes down as another moment from that event that I’ll never forget.