Kelly Slater

Nine-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater is rumoured to return to the Gold Coast in 2009 to defend his Quiksilver Pro title.

That means, Slater will try to snatch the 10th world title. The first indications came from the organisers of the Australian event.

"The Quiksilver Pro, presented by LG, and the Gold Coast are two things very special to Kelly," said spokesman Johnathan Jenkins. "He has always claimed the waves of the Gold Coast are among his favourites in the world."

The Quiksilver Pro will be the first 2009 WCT event. Last season, Kelly Slater defeated Mick Fanning and conquered the Gold Coast stage.

"His non-committal reputation is pretty legendary among the surfing community," said Jenkins.

"But his competitiveness always seems to get the better of him. If I was a betting man I would be putting my money on him going for 10 titles."

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Michel Bourez

Tahitian Michel Bourez, 22, scored a career-best win in Hawaii today, taking first place in the $135,000 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Reef Hawaiian Pro and an early lead on the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series ratings.

Prior to today, Bourez’s best result was a minor event win in the Canary Islands in 2005. Today’s result takes him to the No. 2 ranking on the ASP WQS ratings, guaranteeing him a start on the elite ASP World Tour in 2009. Bourez earned $15,000 for his win today.

Runner-up was Brazil’s Jihad Khodr, 24, third was Hawaii’s Kekoa Bacalso (Mililani), and fourth was Maui’s Dusty Payne, the youngest of the finalists at 19 and the only surfer to come all the way through from the very first round, surfing eight times to earn $4,400.

In conditions that more closely resembled the hollow tubes of Tahiti or Hawaii’s Off-The-Wall, Bourez hit his stride in the Semifinals in an unbelievable demonstration of deep tube-riding and critical power maneuvers, posting the highest wave and heat scores of the entire event: 18.96 points out of 20 for the heat, and 9.93 out of 10 for his top tube ride. In the Final, he posted a total of 16.77 points with scores of 9.77 and 7.0.

"That semi was maybe the best heat of my life," said Bourez. "Everybody was getting barreled I was screaming my head off. It was so sick. I was having so much fun out there and that’s what I call a good contest. It means a lot to just (qualify for) the ASP World Tour. I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life since I started to surf. I’ve been watching all the best surfers, like Kelly (Slater) and (Rob) Machado, all those guys. And, right now I can surf with them. It’s a good opportunity for me and all the Tahitian surfers. I’m stoked for Tahiti."

If Bourez can hold onto his lead of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series ratings, he could win a $10,000 bonus and a $10,000 one-ofkind Nixon tide watch featuring over two-carats of diamonds.

Khodr also had the crowd going wild with a hugely successful mix of determination, tube-riding and never-say-die attack on every wave he rode. Khodr peaked on time in the Final, coming so close but just short of the win. His final scoreline: 16.50 with individual wave scores of 8.50 and 8.00 for a couple of great tubes that were slightly shorter and not as deep as Bourez’s. Khodr’s result today moved him up to 5th on the ASP WQS rankings and back onto the ASP World Tour stage in 2009.

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Carissa Moore

The 2008 Reef Hawaiian Pro was always going to be about the new guard of women’s surfing from the opening heat of competition.

Today, Haleiwa crowned it’s youngest-ever Vans Triple Crown of Surfing event champion in 16-year-old Carissa Moore (Honolulu). Moore won her way through every round of the competition from the preliminary trials heat that awarded one wildcard spot into the event. She now leads the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series ratings.

Three teenagers and a 36-year-old, seven-times ASP Women’s World Champion featured in the 30-minute final. Moore won, multiple world champ Layne Beachley (Manly, Australia) was second, 17-year-old Laura Enever (Narrabeen, Australia) was third, and North Shore local Coco Ho, 17, was fourth.

Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach Park offered up clean and highly contestable 4-5 foot surf for the women’s final day of action, with left-handers the order of the day.

While Moore’s rise to the win came with calm, sure-footedness, there was no shortage of drama around her to help pave the road to victory.

First came the fourth place elimination of reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) in Quarterfinal 1.

Next came the Quarterfinal defeat of Alana Blanchard (Hawaii), who was hoping for a final finish today to guarantee her qualification onto the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour.

In the Final, 17-year-old Coco Ho was at the center of drama. A win here would have guaranteed Ho a start on the 2009 elite ASP Womens World Tour, but after finding herself in fourth for most of the heat, her focus shifted to securing the win for Moore.

With less than a minute remaining, Beachley was in need of little more than six points to steal the win from Moore. Ho took off, ping in on Beachley, popping an air above her head and effectively shutting down Layne’s scoring potential in a classic case of schoolgirl tactics.

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