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If you called it the most significant surf final of the year, you’d have a solid argument to back it up. You want history? How about Skullcandy team rider Owen Wright going up for an unprecedented third time against unprecedented ten-time champion Kelly Slater, in solid swell at the world-famous San Onofre State Park beach break of Lower Trestles. Both athletes were 100% on game, displaying every aspect of surfing progression with devastating effectiveness on the clean 4-to-6-foot rights and lefts of Lowers. As the clock ticked away it became a nail-biter of a final, with Owen needing a strong 8 to pass Slater, who possessed both the lead and priority. The heat literally came down to the wire, with Owen smoothly dismantling a medium-sized right-hander as Slater tore ferociously at the wave directly behind in an effort to maintain. The horn sounded and the crowd fell silent waiting for the scores. At last, with ultimate irony, the judges gave Wright the winning score he would have needed literally a minute before, but took away with the same hand by awarding Slater the trophy spot with a 9.0. Final tally: 17.50 to 16.74.
All things considered, it would be hard to ask for a better conclusion, except perhaps if your name was Owen Wright. Then again, if you’re going to go down, it might as well be at the last minute, in perfect conditions, by just a fraction of a point to a worthy opponent. Congratulations to Owen from all of us at Skullcandy.