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Surfing champ Kelly Slater ready for 2011 ASP World Tour, at least for now

February 23, 2011 | 12:10 pm

Ten-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater.

The 2011 Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Tour kicks off this week with the Quiksilver Pro, scheduled to begin Saturday on Australia's Gold Coast.

Returning to the lineup of top tour surfers is Kelly Slater, possibly vying for an 11th ASP World Tour title. The Floridian, however, remains mum on his plans for this season, or if he's considering retirement now that he's got a 10th crown under his belt.

"I'd love to get another win at the Quiksilver Pro," the iconic natural-footer said. "Either a great way to go out or to start another campaign! I can't honestly answer that [my plans for the year] right now. I've thought about doing a farewell aloha tour and saying 'bye to the tour and I've thought about retiring after this event for real."

Slater, 39, used the off-season to recharge in Hawaii and California, working on equipment and taking advantage of the winter swells.

"I’ve been hanging in Hawaii and getting boards sorted out in California and having down time," Slater said. "Surfing myself out most of January was fun."

So, at least for now, it's back to business. Slater, 39, will face Australian Kai Otton, 31, plus one of the event wildcards in the opening round of competition.

The Quiksilver Pro will run from Saturday through March 9 and will be webcast live via www.quiksilverpro.com

Running in conjunction with the men’s event will be Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the opening event in the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Round 1:

Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Bobby Martinez (USA), Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), TBA
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), TBA
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 11: Chris Davidson (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT)

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Ten-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater.  Credit: © Kirstin Scholtz / ASP