At some point, Kelly Slater will either retire from competitive surfing or hang on long enough to become a non-factor.
But at which point the 40-year-old superstar will begin to show signs of aging is not yet evident.
On Monday (local time) in four- to six-foot surf at Cloudbreak in Tavarua, Fiji, Slater out-dueled Brazil's Gabriel Medina in the final to win the Volcom Fiji Pro and vault into second place in the ASP World Championship Tour standings.
It was Slater's first man-on-man victory over Medina, 19, a goofy-footer who is regarded as a future world champion in a sport top-heavy with aging veterans.
"It’s about time I got him," Slater said. "He had my number in the back half of last year and he’ll probably go on to beat everyone for the next 20 years. He can do it all and I think he proved that to a lot of people this week at Restaurants and out here at Cloudbreak."
Slater, who has 11 world titles and has dominated the WCT for most of the past 20 years, posted his 49th tour victory.
He took control early against Medina on the left-handers at Cloudbreak, posting scores of 8.33 and 9.83 (out of possible 10s) to put his young nemesis in a difficult position.
In fact, Slater rode only those two waves in the final -- in a best-two-scores format -- to post a winning tally of 18.16 to 10.87.
Afterward, he talked about the importance of winning events for those aspiring to win world titles.
"I think everyone who competes on tour is here to win," Slater said. "If you’re winning events, then you’re winning world titles. At this point in my career, I’m probably more focused on surfing well though. The waves just pumped today. Some guys win, some guys lose, but everyone is happy if the waves are good."
Said Medina, who jumped from 29th to 13th in the ratings: "I’m pretty happy with my result. The waves here have been so good all week and it has been a great trip. I haven’t had the best season in terms of results but I’m very happy to make the Final and congrats to Kelly – he was surfing amazing all event."
The Volcom Fiji Pro was the fourth of 10 events on this year's schedule. Slater missed the previous competition in Brazil.
Australia's Mick Fanning, who won world titles in 2007 and 2009, is the current ratings leader.
The next WCT competition is the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, Aug. 16-27 in Tahiti.
-- Image showing Kelly Slater in action at Cloudbreak is courtesy of ASP / Kirstin Scholtz