In a strange turn of events, the Association of Surfing Professionals admitted a calculation error for it’s ranking system and announced that Kelly Slater incorrectly awarded the world title. The revised rankings leave Slater in first place but Australian surfer Owen Wright could still statistically win.

Organizers at the Rip Curl Pro Search surf contest on Ocean Beach and ASP officials awarded Slater a trophy on the beach Wednesday after he won his Round 3 heat. Slater later celebrated with about 100 friends, including Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight and members of Metallica, at Sea Bowl in Pacifica, but it looks like they may have to reconvene.

“Our rankings’ system is designed to split tie-breaks based off of seed points,” said Renato Hickel, ASP World Tour Manager in a release. “Kelly (Slater) and Owen (Wright) tied at best nine of 11 results, so we went to best eight of 11 results and the system gave it to Kelly based off his higher seed position. We were operating under that assumption and created the ASP World Title scenarios based off of that. This was a mistake. In the end, we’re responsible for this and should be held accountable. We apologize to our fans, the surfers and to Owen and Kelly.”

Slater will have to win one more heat in San Francisco—he surfs next in Round 4—or at the next ASP Tour stop in Hawaii. For Wright to win the championshipo, he must win the Rip Curl Pro in San Francisco and Pipe Masters in Hawaii.

The Rip Curl Pro has been on hold at Ocean Beach the last two days due to poor weather conditions. Officials will meet at 7:30am tomorrow to decide if the competition will continue on Saturday.


– If Kelly wins either Round 4 or 5 (one more heat win) in San Francisco, he will confirm his 2011 ASP World Title.

– If Kelly fails to win another heat in San Francisco, Owen must win this event to send the 2011 ASP World Title race to Hawaii.

– If the race goes to Hawaii, Kelly must advance out of one heat to confirm his 2011 ASP World Title. If Kelly fails to advance through a heat at Pipeline, Owen must also win this event to stay in the 2011 ASP World Title Race.

– If Kelly fails to advance out of another heat this season, and Owen wins in San Francisco and Pipeline, the two will tie at best of nine, eight, seven, etc. events, and the 2011 ASP World Title will be decided in a “Surf Off”.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.