Kelly Slater, 9 times ASP World Champion

Kelly Slater, 36, has won a record ninth ASP World Title after advancing out of Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Mundaka – the ninth event of 11 on the 2008 ASP World Tour. Slater came into the event needing an equal ninth finish to clinch the title, he secured that by beating local wildcard Eneko Acero (EUK) in four foot waves at Mundaka this morning.

“It’s going to take a little while to sink in,” Slater said when mobbed at the water’s edge. “I’m probably going to have to call home and talk to family for it to really hit me.”

Slater’s 2008 crowning comes 16 years after securing his first ASP World Title at age 20. He is the oldest and youngest surfer in ASP history to win a world title. The now nine-time ASP World Champion joined the tour in 1991 and won his first ASP World Title in 1992.

When asked if he had ever dreamed about achieving such a feat when he came onto the scene 17 years ago, Slater was close to speechless.

“I never even thought about it,” Slater said. “It never even popped into my head. It’s crazy.”

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. With five wins in the first seven events of the year, a second place finish at the last event in France and a Round 4 berth at the Billabong Pro Mundaka later today, Slater is on track to post his most successful season to date. Slater’s winning average in 2008 is 89 percent at present.

“I felt a lot more at ease this year,” Slater said. “It’s probably my personal life. That’s the biggest change in my life. I’m happy and settled and I’ve got the support there that just feels amazing. Nothing else has really changed, I’ve worked with my boards a little bit here and there and I’ve always worked on my mind and my emotions, but something just really clicked into place this year.”

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Kelly Slater, 2008 ASP World Champion

Kelly Slater is the new 2008 ASP World Championship!

The american surfer got through to Round 4, which means the 9th place in the Billabong Pro Mundaka and the minimum needed to clinch the title.

In the Round 3, the eight-time World Champion defeated Eneko Acer in the three-to-five foot waves of the Basque country, in Spain.

Kelly Slater is 36 years old. He was born on the 11th February 1972, in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA.

Besides surfing, Kelly Slater enjoys playing golf, music and fishing.

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Royden Bryson

Mundaka, one of the world’s best lefthand breaks, redeemed itself today. The at-times fickle river-mouth spit out enough four to five foot waves to host 20 heats of ASP World Tour action in just seven hours thanks to the ASP Dual Heat format which allows for overlapping heats.

South Africa’s Royden Bryson was the day’s biggest victor, beating renowned barrel-rider Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.37 to 17.26 after out tube-riding him.

“I’m just super stoked,” Bryson said. “You sit here all day and wonder if you are going to get a chance to surf out there when the waves are good and the tide is right and then in my heat with Damien everything came together. We both got really good waves, I think I was just fortunate to pick the better ones."

Bryson earned the first perfect 10 of his career in the heat – just moments after posting a 9.73 – leaving Hobgood comboed despite the 8.83 and 8.43 in his scoreline.

"Nevermind the World Tour, that was my first perfect 10 even in a provincial contest,” Bryson said. “It’s a bit of a blur but I just remember taking off and pulling into the first section and watching the whole wave kind of slow up like it was standing still. I just kept going and going and then I think I did a turn and got another little barrel."

The second-year surfer currently sits 34th on the ratings – only the top 27 surfers requalify at year’s end. Bryson has yet to make it out of Round 3 and is not backing up his ASP World Tour campaign on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS).

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