Kelly Slater has defeated Dane Reynolds in the final of the Quiksilver Pro France to claim his 51st ASP World Championship Tour victory.
The triumph was notched in hollow three- to five-foot surf at La Graviere, with Slater getting the better barrels and logging high scores of 7.93 and 9.93 early during the final. (Slater is pictured above; credit: ©ASP Cestari.)
Slater, 40, advances into second place in the WCT standings, and with three events remaining he's well-poised to win a remarkable 12th world title.
But another story line involves Joel Parkinson, who lost to Slater in the semifinals but vaulted to No. 1 in the standings. (Parkinson is pictured below; credit: ©ASP Cestari.)
Parkinson, 31, a perennial top-five finisher, is seeking his first world title and running out of time, considering the phenomenal talent possessed by the rising stars now in the WCT lineup. (John John Florence, only 19 and in his first full year on the WCT, is in fourth place overall.)
"I can't wait for Portugal," Parkinson said, in reference to the next competition. "It would be nice to get a win over there as the race is shaping up to come down to the end."
As for Slater, who has three WCT victories this season, he seemed to have been blown away by all the time that has passed during his pro surfing career.
"It has literally been 20 years," he said. "I had my first win here 20 years ago and that’s pretty crazy."
-- Pete Thomas