38 year old Kelly Slater, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, will return to the singlet this season, challenging for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title against the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves. The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the first event on the 2010 ASP World Tour, will commence its waiting period this weekend. The event will boast some of the greatest assemblage of surfing talent in history with 15 ASP World Titles being represented amongst the 48-man draw.
Coming away with an ASP Dream Tour win in Brazil last season, Slater made a mid-year challenge for the crown, yet fell short of the Australian onslaught. “I never found myself in the right mind frame to deal with the pressure of a tenth title and find the excitement and purpose for what I was doing for more than a few heats last year,” Slater said. “Brazil worked out but all the close heats went the other guy’s way and I just made a lot of mind decisions and not surfing from the gut and real feelings. I am comfortable with 9 (ASP World Titles), but yeah, 10 has a certain allure to it.”
The iconic natural-footer opened up the 2009 season on self-shaped, experimental designs that yielded mixed results. The ripple effect it caused, however, echoed throughout the remainder of the year, with the world’s best surfers riding their respective equipment and collectively applying a more radical approach to their surfing. “I love designing and experimenting,” Slater said. “I love music. I love using the artistic brain and challenging myself and the way things are accepted around us. There is no shortage of things to do, only time and focus to do them. Last year was a radical change for my boards and surprising to a lot of people. I am sure some of those changes are here to stay and will be on my equipment. I am still working it out now.” Slater will face current ASP World No. 22, Ben Dunn (AUS), 24, and 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie, Marco Polo (BRA), 28, in the opening round of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.