The King's Speech: Slater Dissects ASP Ratings System And More!


Bathed in his glory, but not yet ready to retire body or brain, Kelly enjoying the moment (number 11). Pic: ASP/Kirstin

Kelly Slater is driving back towards San Francisco, it’s not yet a week since he secured his historic eleventh ASP world title [twice]. Hands (and stress) free, Kelly unloads his thoughts on the year that was. The bulk of this important interview is featured in the latest issue of Tracks magazine, but we have saved this tour specific portion for online purposes. Alone in the car, Kelly sounds invigorated, alert, but not at all like a man that has finished all he wants to accomplish in life (or surfing). When confronted with a question about the current ASP ranking systems and it’s protocol he unloads a train of thought both thought-out in it’s depth, and spontaneous in its delivery. If you have no interest in the future of professional surfing? Look away now. If you’re a professional surfing fan, competitor or official, and want to know what the champ really thinks of the current state of play? Then read on and learn.

Kelly Slater calls time in France, 10 to 12 it is. Pic: ASP/Cestari

Tracksmag.com: Okay, the one world ranking, rotations, what is working? What’s not? Is it a good system?

Kelly: I think in theory it is, but working on the actual numbers, it is and it isn’t. I actually put forward a proposal that I personally thought would make it fairer. I’ll give you a brief description of it; basically the contests [World Qualifying Series events] should be weighted based on who’s entered in the event, for example the US Open had more top 32 surfers in it than any other ASP six star prime event this year. You had something like 27 of the top 32 in that contest, so in my eyes that contest should almost be worth as much as a World Tour event. A second on a WT event is worth 8000 points, Yadin [Nicol] got second at the US Open and you could easily argue he should have got like 7000 points [he got 5200]. If you’re able to, based on who’s entered, allocate a certain number of points, for example ninety percent of the top guys turn up, so weight it as being worth ninety percent of what a world tour event’s worth – points wise. Then if you have a six star prime that’s in some country that’s not really worked into the schedule effectively for everyone, efficiently for travel etc, like some events in Brazil, that are out of the way and hard for most of the guys to get to. Say only four guys from the World Tour turn up, those events should be worth less points. So, if you’re able to find a way to weight these events based on who has entered and what the average rating is of the guy that is in the contest – obviously all the world tour events are going to be worth the maximum points… but you could, in theory, have a six star prime that’s worth as many points as a world tour event if all those guys turn up! – Why not! It should be based on the level of difficulty of surfing not the money a sponsor puts on. If you’ve got ninety percent of the world tour surfers at an event it should be worth ninety percent of the points, and visa versa, if there’s only 20, it should be worth twenty percent of the points, or at least 20% above the standard – there’s a way to work it to be fairer is my point.

So, Bobby Martinez has a point? Comparing of the current ASP system to the ATP tennis tour?

Take or leave it, in one way, Bobby has a point. If you’re not surfing against the best guys, it’s a little bit tough to allocate points for that. But if world tour surfers are surfing against those guys and losing or winning – the points should reflect.

Sounds like the old saying “if you want to be the best, you gotta be the best” needs to be applied. Challenge yourself and you’ll get more points?

Exactly.

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