30/11/2011 | by Alex Dick-Read
Kelly Slater got to do this again a few days later. Photo:ASP/Prisk
In a horrendous ‘ouch!’ moment on Saturday, mere days after Kelly Slater was crowned World Champion for the eleventh time, the Association of Surfing Professionals came out with this ball-shrinking statement:
“The ASP has admitted that, due to a calculation error within its rankings’ system, the 2011 ASP World Title has yet to be officially decided and that Kelly Slater (USA), 39, was prematurely awarded his 11th ASP World Title on Tuesday.”
The news that the title wasn’t actually his yet went down ok with Kelly who reportedly said he thought it was “funny”. Owen Wright, for whom the calculation error offered the merest chink of light for his own title attempt, didn’t seem to mind either, saying he felt sorry for the ASP for having made such an awful public cock-up.
The discrepancy found meant that actually Slater only needed to win his next heat to (re)claim the title, which he duly did on Sunday beating young Brasilians Gabriel Medina and Miguel Pupo in 3-5ft onshore Ocean Beach in San Francisco in Round 4 of the Rip Curl Search event. Slater now moves directly into the quarter finals … and doesn’t have to worry about the title race when the tour moves on to Hawaii.
So what went wrong? Renato Hickel, the ASP numbers guy explains:
“Our rankings’ system is designed to split tie-breaks based off of seed points. Kelly (Slater) and Owen (Wright) tied at best nine of 11 results, so we went to best eight of 11 results and the system gave it to Kelly based off his higher seed position. We were operating under that assumption and created the ASP World Title scenarios based off of that.”
For Kelly, and most others, this isn’t going to go down as the end of the world. But for the ASP, there’ll be red faces and and strong to desire to move on and forget the whole incident, quick.