Kelly Slater is within reach of a 10th ASP World Title after defeating world #2 surfer, Jordy Smith in the final heat of the Rip Curl Pro today in Portugal. No matter what Kelly does at the next event in Puerto Rico, Smith needs to finish 3rd or higher to keep the race alive.
“It’s obviously a very big deal for me,” Kelly said about his chances of winning his 10th. “If it happens, it will be a major accomplishment for me in my life.”
After falling behind against Chris Davidson in the semis, Kelly pulled an incredible alley oop air in the final minutes to advance to the final. The climactic match up against Smith was also exciting with the young South African landing an amazing backside superman aerial. Smith, though, was unable to post a high scoring back up wave and Kelly’s consistency earned him his 3rd win of the year and the 44th of his career.
“I’m fortunate to have an amazing circle of friends around me: my girlfriend Kalani, Belly (Stephen Bell), Travis (Lee) and a bunch of others,” said Kelly. Today’s win puts me another step closer and we’ll see what happens in Puerto Rico.”
Check out the photos from Steve Sherman and stay tuned for more updates from Portugal.