Surfing legend Kelly Slater wins 2011 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles
Owen Wright and Kelly Slater met in the finals of the 2011 Hurley Pro on Saturday in San Clemente.
If that finals pairing looks familiar, it should. It marked the third straight time the two have faced each other in the finals of an Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Tour event.
Slater won the first of those three, at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, in late August. Wright won the next, earlier this month at the Quiksilver Pro New York.
But Wednesday, at Lower Trestles on San Onofre State Beach, Slater won, as he has done here five of the last seven years. With a battery of aerial moves and by carving up the waves like a butcher, the 10-time world champion from Cocoa Beach, Fla., defeated Wright in the finals, 17.50 to 16.74.
Slater fell behind early but scored an 8.50 on his fifth wave to overtake Wright, who had a small lead at that point. His sixth wave score of 9.00 was the nail in the coffin.
Slater paddled ashore with about a minute remaining, and a crowd of fans rushed to greet him.
Slater won the event's $105,000 first-place prize.
Slater is ranked first in the World Tour rankings, Wright is ranked second, and this win will no doubt act as a springboard for Slater, who's trying to win his 11th world championship this year.
Correction appended: A previous version of this post had the incorrect order in which Kelly Slater and Owen Wright finished in two previous events.
-- Baxter Holmes
Photo: Kelly Slater competes Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press.