Kelly Slater Wins The 2008 ASP Mens World Title

K9, Nine lives, Revolution #9, call it what you want, Kelly Slater is a 9-time ASP world champion. He stayed home alone last night and watched UFC on the internet to get psyched. Then this morning he did what everyone knew he would by beating local Eneko Acero in Round 3 to seal it up. It wasn't easy considering that Acero picked off a 7.0 early in clean and pumping waves at Mundaka and then fell coming out of a barrel that he could've earned him a 10 had he made it. Kelly surfed well, not amazing, and needed to Houdini his way out of a pinching tube to make it through the heat. Afterward the celebration on the rocks was more subdued than the raucous one here for 8 in 2006 or the emotional 7th in Brazil in 05. Today it was pouring rain and freezing cold and Kelly seemed more relieved than anything to have it behind him. Right before letting the locals drink from the world title trophy and getting thrown into the harbor, he tried to put his career into perspective.

"The rewards have paid off for a lot of work and commitment to surfing my whole life, he said. "Overall I feel really good and calm inside. Guys are pushing me like Dane and Jordy and the guys who are already there like Mick, Taj, Parko, Andy and Bobby - that whole crew keeps me on my toes and they push me to learn more things and keep my mind open."

It's hard to think of an athlete in any sport who's been so dominant for so long. A million different stats will be bandied about but here are a few for thought. Slater's 9th title comes 16 years after his first. Jordy Smith was 4 years old when Kelly won in 1992. Dane Reynolds was 7 then and didn't even start surfing until 96, when Kelly had already won 4 titles. Kelly is now 36, but his surfing is better than ever. His 2008 heat win percentage is an astounding 89% "There's been so many times this year when he's made us look like novices," said Dane.

The title was over, but the show went on and what a fine show it was. {{{CJ}}} and Ace Buchan both showed how much they've got this place wired during Round 3 and 4 wins and Taj and Parko also looked solid. The surf went from excellent to terrible as a hard onshore blew in and then back to glassy and good - all within the space of a couple hours.

Oh yeah, Kelly surfed again today. He rode a 4-fin for Round 4 and lost. Tom Whitaker scored the wave of the contest, one of the best waves of his life. He drove through two crazy long tubes across the sandbar. The cheer for that one in the competitors' area was twice as loud as it was for Kelly's world title and it was sweet relief for Whits who needs a result here to stay off the qualification bubble. "I'll get him back on the golf course," said Kelly, who didn't seem exactly bummed to have lost. He's in a car right now on his way back to France thinking about dinner and the prospect of scoring good Hossegor over next few days.

Smaller, but still good waves expected tomorrow for the quarters, semis and finals.

Party starts now.

Visit the Kelly Slater 9th world title website at