Kelly Slater: the 11th wave is passing by

Kelly Slater is only two heats aways from doing history, again, in the world of surfing. The Floridian rider from Cocoa Beach only needs to finish ninth or better at the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco to conquer the incredible 11th world title.

"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."

Ocean Beach is not an easy task for Slater, but it also won't be for the remaining ASP Top 34 surfers. They have other challenges and some critical decisions to face off.

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."

Kelly Slater will get his inaugural surfing experience in San Francisco and has a simple formula for what he will get. "I expect cold and paddling," Slater said.

The current ASP World No. 1 will likely surf against wildcard Dean Brady and a fellow ASP Top 34 campaigner in Round 1 of competition, with a waiting period scheduled from November 1-12.

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