Kelly Slater is out of the Rip Curl Pro at Supertubos, Portugal.
In desperate need of a good score to stay in contention, the 11-time world champion was unable to measure up in round two, going down 12.34 to 10.13 to wildcard Frederico Morais.
Slater described lack of motivation in the messy one-metre waves as his biggest challenge throughout the event: “After surfing the tour for 20 years, sometimes it’s hard to really care when the conditions are like this.”
Slater’s early exit leaves the door open for Australian Mick Fanning to clinch his third world title. With just one event left on the tour, a spot in the semi-final at Supertubos is all Fanning needs to win the crown. Slater is now all but out of contention.
“White Lightning” displayed a combination of his trademark speed and power to overcome the challenging conditions and progress to the third round.
“It’s been a long week of getting up early every morning,” Fanning said. “This morning, conditions felt all right and once we got out there it felt a little bit weaker with that tide coming in.
“I’m just stoked to get the heat done and start moving.”
He has been a picture of consistency this year, making the quarter finals in all but one event.
“Mick has been the great performer of the year,” Slater said. “Obviously his results have been great at every event – it’s hard to beat a guy like that.”
Larger swells are predicted for later in the waiting period. A decision will be made at 7am Portuguese time on whether the contest will run today. – Jack Hislop
Photo from Wanaku’s Flickr photostream.