MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TITLE RACES NOT OVER YET!
This photo courtesy of www.aspworldtour.com
[i][font=Verdana]Just two events remain on both the Fosters ASP Mens World Tour and the ASP Womens World Tour and while were staring down the barrel at a couple of runaway world title favorites in American Kelly Slater and Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich, it isnt over till its over. [/font][/i]Both could be crowned 2005 world champions at their respective tours next stops the Nova Schin Mens WCT in Florianopolis, Brazil and the Roxy Pro in Haliewa, Hawaii but both tours boast unbelievable athletes sitting in unsatisfying second place spots. Athletes who are wholly capable of holding off Mulanovich and Slaters celebrations till Maui and Pipeline, and should they really fire, thwarting their campaigns all together! The surfers we speak of are of course Hawaiian Andy Irons and Australian Chelsea Georgeson.
Perhaps it was the showman in him but the former Baywatch heart-throb and six-time world champion Slater kept the suspense mounting by bowing out early at the Quiksilver Pro France in late September. Finishing just one round in front of reigning world champion Andy Irons would have earned the current world number one his seventh world title and revenge for the 2003 Slater vs Irons showdown in which he came up short. Instead, Slaters fifth place showing and Irons formidable first place will keep the race continuing into Brazil and, quite possibly, Hawaii.
Post France, Slater and Irons are the only men still in contention for the 2005 world crown. Though its a long shot, if Irons wins the final two events of the year hell win his fourth consecutive world title, and if anyone else were in that scenario, Slater would be sitting pretty. But as Slater has admitted several times, if anyone can accomplish that feat its Andy Irons.
If any one of the following situations take place, Slater will clinch the title in Brazil:
If Irons were to come in fifth place, Slater needs only to finish better than 33rd and the title is his. If Irons were to get a third, Slater will win by finishing fifth or better. If Irons were to get second, Slater needs to finish third or better to clinch, and if both make the final, Irons has to win to keep his title hopes alive entering Hawaii. If he loses, Slater will earn his seventh world crown.
On the ladies tour Hawaiian Megan Abubo and Australian Layne Beachley are also mathematically still in the running for the ASP Womens World Tour crown. In a similar scenario to the mens race, the girls would have to win the next two contests to claim the crown and would also need Mulanovich and Georgeson to bomb out in the first two rounds of the next two events.
The womens world title scenario hasnt changed much since the European leg in June. After a four-month break from competition, the most recent ASP Womens World Tour event, the Rip Curl Malibu Pro, saw Mulanovich, Georgeson and Beachley all fall in the quarterfinals. Had any one of the women fared well once the other two were eliminated early, we could have had a very different scenario on our hands. Because they each went out in the same round, however, the event was a wash as far as world title chances were concerned.
The lowdown on the ladies world title race is this:
Mulanovich can clinch her second world title in Haliewa if she wins the event and Georgeson is eliminated in or before the quarterfinals. But if Georgeson triumphs there or makes the semis, the race will wrap up at Honolua Bay in Maui.
Stay tuned to www.aspworldtour.com for all the live action from the next few events. The Nova Schin WCT runs 31 October to 9 November while the womens Roxy Pro at Haleiwa runs 12 – 24 November.
Melissa Buckley – ASP Media