The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco, Event No. 10 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series, will bring the world’s best surfers to Northern California for the first time in history next week with the ASP Top 34 doing battle at Ocean Beach.
The penultimate stop of the 2011 ASP Dream Tour season, the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco boasts the dual importance of playing a crucial role in the requalification campaigns of elite ASP Top 34 as well as the possible deciding event of the 2011 ASP World Title.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, is just two heat wins away from clinching a historic 11th title, needing to finish ninth or better at the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco to end this season’s race.
“Being this close doesn’t change my approach too much,” Slater said. “I have to ride four waves as well as I can against probably a really good wildcard. The approach doesn’t change because of the situation. The approach got me to this place and I’ll stay in the same headspace as much as possible.”
Despite missing July’s South Africa event and being challenged by a new field of opponents, Slater has had an impressive run in 2011, posting three victories (Gold Coast, Tahiti, Trestles) as well as two Runner-Up finishes (New York, Portugal) – a performance, in part, he attributes to the relief of clinching his 10th ASP World Title last season.
“I think last year’s title made this one easier to a degree,” Slater said. “It took pressure off of me for sure. The 10th was a far more talked about and conscious situation. Everyone wanted to know what I was thinking about 10. That was a much more difficult monkey to have to not think about at all. I think it allowed me to be a bit less worried about outcomes once that was completed and I could enjoy competing with a bit less distraction.”
The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco will be Slater’s inaugural surfing experience in the ‘City by the Bay’ and the reigning 10-time ASP World Champion was succinct in his expectations of the venue.
“I expect cold and paddling,” Slater said.
Slater will likely face off against wildcard Dean Brady (AUS), 25, and a fellow ASP Top 34 campaigner in Round 1 of competition.
Round 1 match-ups for the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco will be determined following the completion of the ASP Prime event in Santa Cruz this week.
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
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 5 (Heading into Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 58,150 pts
2. Owen Wright (AUS) 45,650 pts
3. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,450 pts
4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 41,100 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 40,950 pts
Photo: Kelly Slater (USA), 39, is only two heats away from securing an unprecedented 11th ASP World Title.