Kelly Slater Falters in Portugal; Mick Fanning Eyes ASP Title

By on October 14, 2013 in Surfing with 0 Comments

Ripcurl Pro / Moche Pro Portugal 2013

Frederico

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SlaterKelly Slater suffered an uncharacteristic early round elimination by a little known local surfer from Portugal today. The loss enables Mick Fanning a huge opportunity to put a cushion between himself and Slater going into Hawaii. Slater needed a strong performance to stay close with or overtake Fanning but it was not to be. The culprit: 21-year-old Frederico Morais, currently ranked 96th on the ASP World Tour. Here’s the rest of the story from the ASP:

Frederico Morais (PRT), 21, current ASP World No. 96 was the instrument of upset this morning, taking out the 11-time ASP World Champion in Round 2 of competition. The young regular-footer, from the nearby coastal city of Cascais, appeared in rhythm with the tricky morning conditions, executing a number of aerial maneuvers en route to the result of his young career.

“I can’t believe it right now, it was a tough heat and I knew Kelly (Slater) could get the score whenever,” Morais said. “Against Kelly Slater, you’re never safe, but I knew with that second good score it was possible and I tried to focus on doing my job and it worked.”

Slater was unable to find the best opportunities in a shifty lineup of Siupertubos this morning and was handed his first 25th place finish of the year. Today’s result marks another in the icon’s up-and-down season with Slater holding a mixed bag of results heading into the final event of the season in Hawaii.

“Frederico (Morais) had the better waves and capitalized on it, he made a couple big moves,” Slater said. “I’m expecting now that I’ll probably need to win or at least make the Final in Hawaii for a shot at it. We got almost two months now, I’m going to go do some rehab, get my body back together and try to get my mind back in it. If this week works out, great; if not, well Mick (Fanning) has been the great performer of the year. Obviously his results have been great at every event, it’s hard to beat a guy like that.”

Fanning, current frontrunner in the hunt for the 2013 ASP World Title, survived a dangerous Round 2 match-up against event wildcard Francisco Alves (PRT) 20, in the opening heat of the day. Despite the challenging conditions, Fanning demonstrated his signature speed and power to advance into the third round and move one step closer to his third world surfing crown.

“It’s been a long weel of getting up early every morning,” Fanning said. “This morning, conditions felt alright and once we got out there it felt a little bit weaker with that tide coming in. I’m just stoked to get the heat done and start moving. When you get the wildcard, people always want to see the underdog win, especially in Portugal where the fans are just fanatical but it’s really cool to see. Francisco (Alves) surfs really well.”

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