I've said it before and I'll say it again: The king is still the king – of surfing, that is. Kelly Slater still stands atop the world tour rankings, after being in devastating form all week and taking the Hurley Pro title for the fourth time in the last six years.
Slater was so dominant, in fact, that he found a rare stand-up tube during his final against Bede Durbidge, who defeated Slater here in the 2006 final. Other standout surfers during the event included defending event champion Mick Fanning and No. 4 world-ranked surfer Dane Reynolds, who were upended in the semifinals, finishing equal third.
The world tour is now headed to Europe for the Quiksilver Pro (Sept.25 to Oct. 5) in the south of France, and then to Peniche, Portugal for the Rip Curl Pro (Oct.7 to 18), and the odds are looking better and better for Slater to claim his 10th world title. Unbelievable, to say the least.
But don't think for a minute that the young saffa and No. 2-ranked surfer, Jordy Smith, will just lay down for Slater. In fact, I believe it is Smith who has a great chance of winning the event in Portugal. However, first things first, and that brings us to my picks for the next event, the Quiksilver Pro. I am going with Slater to follow up his big win at Trestles with another one in France, with my dark horse being Taj Burrow, who is ripe for another big win. My sleeper is Fanning.
We're going with three picks this week to help out everyone's fantasy team, since I have been getting a lot of phone calls asking for my picks.
So there you have it. Stay healthy, keep surfing.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.