Two words, Kelly Slater…
Kelly hasn’t won a WSL contest for quite some time now, yet he always appears to be knocking on the door. The 11 time World Champion has shown glimpses of his former best through this season without putting a full contest together. He looked unbeatable in his Round 1 heat in Tahiti this week and will face Hawaiian Sebastian Zeitz in round 3 where he’s currently a $1.30 favorite.
Surfline is forecasting a solid swell for the last two days of the competition, which will favor kelly and his amazing backside tube skills. With Jeep ratings leaders Mick Fanning and Adriano Desouza already eliminated, Slater has a huge chance to jump on the leaderboard heading into the back leg of the WSL season! He’s currently a $15 chance to win his 12th World title and at the age of 44 become questionable the Greatest Sportsman of all time.
If we take into account throughout all sports, champions above the age of 40 are nearly impossible to find. Spurts of greatness can be highlighted – Jack Nicklaus winning the ’86 Masters at 46 or Richard Petty winning the Daytona 500 in 1984 at the spry age of 47 – but not only are those individual events rather than full season championship campaigns, but they’re also competitive arenas with far less reliance on pure athleticism than surfing. If Slater wins Tahiti, the sporting world better lookout!