ASP Changes Rating and Qualifying Standards

The ASP announced drastic changes reintroducing its old format. The world’s Top 16 surfers will automatically receive second round seeds in the main event, giving them an advantage over the surfers in the rest of the 48 man field, who will start in Round One. Both Round One and Round Two will be comprised of 32 surfers, made up of 16 man-on-man heats. Round One at each event will include the surfers rated 17-27 on the world tour, the Top 15 from the WQS, plus three injury wildcards and three event wildcards. The 16 advancing surfers will be then reseeded as they head into Round Two, where each will be paired up with a member of the Top 16. The new format will shorten the running time of events from 4 days to 3. Because the average length of a swell window is three days, the change will improve the chances events will be able to run in high quality surf. Most surfers at the top see this as a very positive step. The reformatting plan is optional for event sponsors in 2009, but already Billabong has agreed to utilize it in all four of their events: Teahupoo, J-Bay, Mundaka and the Pipe Masters. Longer term this new format, which could be mandatory in 2010, will be a central part of the return to a one-world ranking system, which the ASP hopes to re-implement. It would mean all surfers competing in ASP rated events at any level will be given a ranking next to even the best surfers on the world tour. FULL ASP PRESS RELEASE BELOW COOLANGATTA, Australia...

Congratulations to Kelly Slater on his 9th ASP World Title

Quiksilver congratulates team-rider Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, Florida) on winning his ninth world surfing championship today in Mundaka, Spain. Dominating five of the season’s first eight contests, Slater accrued enough points to clinch the 2008 title with two scheduled Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Tour contests yet to be surfed. Slater’s ninth world championship comes 16 years after his first, in 1992, and is his third championship title following a three-year foray into semi-retirement. Slater’s win today solidifies what some say is his best season yet in an eighteen-year career, and reaffirms his unequivocal status as the most prolific surfer of all time. On what his surfing means to him and others Slater remarked, “The rewards have paid off for a lot of work and commitment to surfing my whole life. I’m stoked, I just try to do the best I can with what I’ve got.” After winning the 2008 season opener at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Slater built momentum over the next six contests, winning 32 of 35 heats surfed going into the Quiksilver Pro France last week, where he placed second. He arrived at Mundaka on Sunday as the presumptive 2008 World Champion, and needed only a ninth place finish to clinch a ninth world title. About his 2008 season Kelly said “I had a great year, and it’s nice to be rewarded like this. But besides that it felt like a great year. A lot of good things have happened up to this point on the tour.” Reflecting on winning the title again at Mundaka, Slater said “It’s freezing, but a lot of people showed...