MUNDAKA, Basque Country/Spain (Friday, Oct. 3, 2008) - Eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater USA) is one heat away from winning his ninth world title - he could be crowned as early as 11:40am today. Slater will surf against local replacement surfer Enecko Acero (EUK) in Heat 8 of Round 3 - if he wins, the title is his.
The Billabong Pro Mundaka will start at 10am and contest officials are using the Dual Heats format again today. Heats are 40 minutes in length and will be held in excellent four to six foot (two metre) conditions at Mundaka. Slater and Acero's heat will run from 11 to 11:40am local time.
Acero earned his Round 3 berth after beating World No. 4 Adriano de Souza (BRA) and high-profile rookie Jordy Smith (ZAF) in Round 1. The local surfer, who knows the wave well, wasn't invited to compete until a spot opened up the night before the event started.
"Mundaka is all about wave ion but at the moment the bank is really good so with the swell there is going to be plenty of good waves," Acero said. "Whoever gets the best waves is going to win -it's going to be good for me to surf against the best surfer in the world."
As for Ecero's experience against the world's most successful pro surfer: "I surfed against him in Biarritz 15-years ago when I was a grommet - Kelly won."
Slater has suffered two event eliminations at the hands of wildcards this year. Should that happen today, Slater can still win the ASP World Title in Mundaka - if World No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) loses. If Slater loses in Round 3 and Burrow goes on to win the event, the ASP World Title race will continue to Brazil.
Today's Round 3 Billabong Pro Mudaka Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 7: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Eneko Acero (EUK)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 13: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 15: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 16: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)