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Slater soars at Lower Trestles

September 11, 2008|Pete Thomas | Times Staff Writer

Kelly Slater, who is advancing purposefully toward another Boost Mobile Pro championship and a ninth world surfing title, disposed of two opponents Wednesday with his trademark power and grace.

The first, in Round 3, was Sunny Garcia, a former world champion as famous for his frankness as he is for his explosive top turns and personality.

"I don't like losing to Kelly," said Garcia, 38. "I don't care if he has won all of those titles, I still want to beat him. I'm not here to bow down to him or carry him on my shoulder. When that horn goes off I'm here to do battle."

Slater, 36, is more battle-tested than anyone on the ASP World Tour -- and more polished. On a breezy day at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, with waves at three to six feet, he defeated Garcia -- who is no longer on tour but was inserted as an injury replacement -- largely on the merit of a 9.33 score at mid-heat.

Slater carved and slashed a big right-hander to the beach to essentially put the contest, which uses a best-two-waves format, out of reach.

Hours later, with larger waves peeling over the cobblestone reef, Slater defied gravity as he posted the event's only perfect 10, and a two-wave score of 19.60, to brush aside Australian Kieren Perrow.

"I think this wave allows everyone to surf their best," said Slater, the defending event champion. "Short of not catching waves, you really don't have too many excuses out here."

While the Floridian was ordinarily extraordinary, Southern California surfers enjoyed varied levels of success.

Ventura's Dane Reynolds, a World Tour rookie, prevailed in a Round 4 heat against second-ranked Joel Parkinson. Santa Barbara's Bobby Martinez, ranked No. 9, defeated Australia's Kai Otton and will face Slater in the quarterfinals.

The competition is expected to be done today.


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