For some making the semifinals of the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles, finishing in equal third would be a great result. However, it was not the result nine-time world champ Kelly Slater was looking for. Especially when Joel Parkinson is ranked No. 1 in the world, having three wins under his belt this year.
Unlike last year, when Slater set the pace in leading the ratings from start to finish in winning his ninth world title, this year it has been Parkinson setting the pace, leading the year off with a big win and Slater trying to play catch-up.
Although finishing third last weekend moved Slater up two spots to sixth, it was a huge missed opportunity for him, one that Mick Fanning and Dane Reynolds took full advantage of. Reynolds, in making his first final on the ASP world tour, and Fanning in winning his first contest title in more than a year and returning to the form that helped him capture the 2007 title, after which he had an injury-riddled 2008 title campaign.
Reynolds, along with Fanning, was in great form as well, finishing in second place and moving up to 11th place in the world rankings. This week the world tour is in full swing with the Quiksilver Pro taking place on the southwest coast of France.
With Parkinson, Slater, Fanning and Reynolds all making it into round three, competition resumed Thursday.
The current ASP world tour standings are as follows; 1. Joel Parkinson, 2. Mick Fanning, 3. Adriano de Souza, 4. CJ Hobgood, 5. Damien Hobgood.
However, with No. 3 surfer de Souza losing out in round two of the Quiksilver pro, he is sure to lose his place among the top-five ranked surfers.
My pick for winning this event is, in an upset, Reynolds, followed by Slater and Parkinson.
Until next week, stay healthy and keep surfing.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, 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