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Joe Surf: Perfection not enough for Slater

April 18, 2012|By Joe Haakenson

The surfing world is still buzzing about the final heat in last week's Rip Curl Pro, the second contest in the Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Tour schedule at Bells Beach in Australia.

Kelly Slater, who seems to be leaning toward making a serious run at his 12th ASP World Tour championship, did not win the event. He lost to Mick Fanning in the final heat.

But what Slater did do is pull off another perfect 10 in the final heat, his second one in less than a year. He also did it last year at the Quiksilver Pro in New York, both with the same move — an air-reverse 360.

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Surfinglife.com.au has put together a video of both so you can judge which one was better.

But if they are both scored a perfect 10, can either one be better than the other? The ironic thing is that the last 10 at Bells Beach was not enough to give Slater the win.

Scoring the top two waves in the final heat, Fanning scored 18.80 on his two, Slater 18.07. Slater does lead the overall points standings after two of 10 events, placing fifth in the first contest at Gold Coast in Australia to go with his second-place finish at Bells.

But it was Fanning, who is tied for third in the overall points standings, who came out on top at Bells, with two big scores, even though he wasn't "perfect" on either.

"I'm so pumped," Fanning told aspworldtour.com. "Kelly did that Hail Mary for the 10 and I thought, 'oh, here we go.' I just caught waves and I'm stoked it all paid off. I'm really at a loss for words and I'm just pumped. It doesn't get any sweeter."

An interesting aspect to the final had to do with what observers on the beach can't see or hear. It's the interaction between the surfers, the talking that goes on as they wait for a swell.

Slater's 10 apparently was spurred on by Fanning's reluctance to make small talk with Slater.

Slater's strategy is to be cool during the competition and possibly take away his opponent's competitive drive. But Fanning wouldn't bite.

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