|11-time World Champion Slater started 2019 with the intention of winning a historic 12th World Title and qualifying for the US Olympic team. He finished dead last with a 33rd place finish at Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, something that hasn’t happened in over a decade. The surfing world, including Slater himself, started questioning his place among the world’s best surfers. With two solid results at Bells and Bali, Slater puts himself back in the race with the new generation of progressive surfers.
At 47 years old, Slater shows no sign of slowing down in 2019, a year that could see him clinch an unprecedented 12th World Title, in addition to a securing a place on the US Olympic Team for surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I’m stoked and well done to Kanoa (Igarashi),” Slater said. “He definitely wanted it and was pushing. I was happy to have a heat with Kanoa, I don’t think we’ve had a heat before. He is going to be on this Tour for a long time and sit in the Top 10 for years to come, so that was cool. To get past Filipe (Toledo), who is a favorite out here, and Michel (Bourez), who had finaled out here twice, was good. Those were big heats, which were both confidence building for sure.”
Slater now moves up World No. 9 on the WSL World Rankings. The WSL rankings at the end of the 2019 season will determine the qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Top 10 men and Top 8 women). Although Slater has hinted that this could be his last competitive season, his finish today shows his commitment to a big comeback in one of surfing’s biggest years.