Surfer Kelly Slater took out the two most recent ASP champs not named Slater on the way to nabbing his 52nd ASP tour win on Australia's Gold Coast in pumping three-to-five-foot waves. The 41-year-old American defeated Australian Mick Fanning in his semifinal heat and Australian Joel Parkinson in the final of the first event on the 2013 tour.
"It’s probably the most talented field that has ever been on tour and there are nine more events," said Slater. "I’m committed to the tour this season.”
Fanning, the ASP champ in 2007 and 2009, took the early lead in his semifinal heat against Slater, but was edged out near the end when Slater put on a show. "Kelly just did his ‘Kelly thing’ and got that incredible 10 and really put himself back in the hunt," said Fanning. "Shame I couldn’t get to the final with Joel, but it’s a good start to the year so I’ll refocus and get ready for Bells.”
Parkinson, the 2012 champ, received a perfect score in his semifinal heat against Michel Bourez before losing to Slater, an 11-time ASP World Champion, in the final—17.47 to 18.56. "I appreciate all the local support out here today and runner-up is a good start to the season," said the 31-year-old Australian.
After his victory, Slater dedicated the win to a seven-year-old girl who recently died of cancer and a legendary Austrialian surfer who died of a heart attack one year ago. "I want to dedicate this Daisy Merrick and the Merrick family, and also Michael Peterson," Slater said.
For more on Daisy Merrick's fight with cancer, go to PrayforDaisy.com. For more on Peterson, read R.I.P. Michael Peterson.