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Slater Secures World Surfing Crown After Premature Title Blunder

U.S. Surfer Kelly Slater
U.S. surfer Kelly Slater secured his record-extending 11th world title four days after he was prematurely crowned champion because of a calculation error by the Association of Surfing Professionals. Photographer: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. surfer Kelly Slater secured his record-extending 11th world title four days after he was prematurely crowned champion because of a calculation error by the Association of Surfing Professionals.

Slater, 39, ensured that he’ll finish atop the 2011 ASP world title ranking by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search in San Francisco yesterday, the ASP said. Officials wrongly awarded Slater the title last week because of an error in the rankings system.

“We’re sure now,” Slater said on the ASP website. “I was upset about it, but I also thought it was really funny. There are no hard feelings towards ASP and mistakes happen.”

Professional surfing’s governing body had calculated that Slater’s Nov. 2 third-round win in San Francisco was enough to give him an unassailable lead atop the ranking. Two days later, the association said a mistake had been made and that Australia’s Owen Wright still had a chance to catch him.

The Cocoa Beach, Florida-born Slater, who is professional surfing’s youngest and oldest world champion, has won a record 48 events on the elite tour and more than $3 million in prize money. His first world title came in 1992.

Slater has three wins and two runner-up finishes on the ASP’s 11-event schedule this year with the current competition and the Dec. 8-20 Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii left.

He described securing his 11th championship in such circumstances as “a little anticlimactic.”

“This is my profession and it’s a little bit on me to know the situation and it’s not just everyone else’s fault,” Slater added. “There have been a few of these mistakes over the course of history, but this one was a bit weird.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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