Start of the Billabong Pro Mundaka

Slater was 7.31 points away from clinching his ninth World Title when he was beaten by Buchan in their French final bout yesterday. Slater now has to secure an equal 9th finish at next week’s Billabong Pro Mundaka to clinch crown No.9.

Martinez being thrown off the harbor wall.  Copyright: Covered Images “I was one wave away [from the title],” Slater said. “One wave away is a lot closer than two heats but we’ll see how we go.”

Slater won his last world title in Mundaka and will do so again this year should he advance out of Round 3. If he doesn’t, and reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) or World No. 2 Taj Burrow win the event, the race will continue to Brazil. Slater will match-up with wildcards in the early rounds.

“In Mundaka for some reason I haven’t had trouble in those wildcard heats but in Brazil I have before,” Slater said. “Taj and Mick haven’t won this year but they’ve both won in Brazil and they’ve gotten seconds and thirds in Mundaka, so those are good contests for those guys. But worse case scenario for me, it will be narrowed down to one guy at the next event.”

Bobby Martinez (USA) has won the event for the last two years – the only two times he’s competed in Mundaka. Martinez finished equal 5th in France and now sits 7th on the ratings.

“It’s so tough because I just got lucky with waves and my luck is bound to run out sometime so it could be this year,” Martinez said. “Mundaka has been a cool place to me the last couple of years and it will always be cool no matter what happens but I’ve never done good in France and then I’ve done good in Spain so I’m just hoping it’s not the other way around this year since I just did alright in France.”

The Billabong Pro Mundaka waiting period stretches from next Monday, September 30 to Sunday, October 12.

Top 10 ASP World Tour Ratings going into the Billabong Pro Mundaka:
1. Kelly Slater (USA) - 7852 points
2. Taj Burrow (AUS) - 6002 points
3. Bede Durbidge (AUS) – 5668 points
4. Adriano De Souza (BRA) – 5426 points
5. Joel Parkinson (AUS) - 5373 points

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Nate Yeomans.  Copyright: Hilleman
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Buchan won in Hossegor.  Copyright: Covered Images
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