The ASP season kicks off Saturday, so I thought I'd turn the hype-volume up a bit further by sharing a few words from our top contenders: Slater and Fanning. The following quotes didn't make the
Lewis: One could argue that you haven't been challenged for the #1 spot since winning Bells last year. Do you have any sense of looking forward to a challenge with the start of the new season?
Kelly Slater: Well, if you ever get a chance to have a little breathing room like I was able to get last year for a while you would always rather have that position. But everyone loves a good race and a close battle and after everyone saying I was done years ago, I'm probably lucky to even be in sight of those other guys. It'd be nice to get a good result on the Gold Coast for sure.
Lewis: Has your perspective on equipment changed much since this time last year?
Kelly: Not changed but has gone in the same direction as it was starting to.
Lewis: Where does the motivation come from for 2009?
Mick Fanning: Well, it’s probably like climbing Everest: If you get to the top once and go back to climb it the next year and don’t quite make it to the summit again you’re gonna be bummed. Once you’ve been to the top nothing matches it. My motivation is to get back up there.
Lewis: Any changes to your approach for this season (boards, training, strategy, etc)?
Mick: Yeah, 2008 was my worst year on tour to date but I think I learned more last year than I have in any previous years. The big change for me has been learning how to switch on and switch off as a competitor. I’ve had better preparation for 2009 than any other year. I feel relaxed, I’ve minimized distractions, I got the right equipment, I know exactly how often I should train without burning myself out before events and I’m feeling more comfortable. I'm ready to go.
Contending is all about fitness. Word on the street is that Taj has been training with this fierce couple.