Kelly Slater, an 11-time winner on the surfing tour, has pulled out of the Mavericks Invitational big-wave contest set for Sunday in northern California because of an unfortunate organizational rule that would cost him a fine and professional points. Reports SFGate on Sunday, Jan. 20, the champion surfer, who has been called the “face” of surfing, is an Association of Surfing Professionals leader, and the top 34 of the ASP surfers are bound by regulations to compete only in ASP-sanctioned events.
Too bad, because the waves are really gigantic. A powerful off-shore swell is set to hit the coast right at the perfect time. This is something the organizers cannot completely control, but luck is with them. Ironically, the same rule challenge would have prevented Kelly Slater from competing last year, but the surf fizzled, and the event was cancelled.
That left him signed up – but not actually available – for the 2013 contest. Kelly Slater is known to be comfortable in all conditions. The excitement was building.
Do fans care about arbitrary restrictions/? They generally do not. They just want to see the favorites go head-to-head. If the contest promoters had applied for special consideration, it would likely have been granted. They did not. Nor did Kelly Slater, on his own, apply. Shane Dorian, arguably the top world big-wave surfer, and the expected winner of the Mavericks, has also withdrawn from this year’s contest, due to injuries. With Dorian and Slater both out, where’s the fun? Just when the waves are at their peak, the competitor list fizzles.
But who knows? Maybe a new favorite will emerge.