After all of the fanfare, celebrations and media attention, the Association of Surfing Professionals -- competitive surfing's governing body -- has conceded that because of errors in its math, Kelly Slater has not in fact clinched the 2011 ASP world title.
"I'm not joking," tweeted Slater. "I have not won the world title yet. I still have to win another heat! Give those shirts and hats back!"
Slater was deemed the titlist Wednesday. But according to the ASP, he now needs to win one more heat to eliminate Owen Wright from contention and clinch the title.
"Our rankings' system is designed to split tie-breaks based off of seed points," ASP world tour manager Renato Hickel said in a statement. "Kelly and Owen 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 still can clinch at the event that's currently under way, the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco -- even if he loses his next heat, as Round 4 is a "no losers" round. If Slater doesn't win either round, Wright has to win the event to keep the title race alive heading to the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, the last event of the season. If that happens, and Slater loses both the first and second rounds in Hawaii, Wright still has to win the Pipeline Masters to continue to be in contention. The season would end in a tie; the two would have to surf one final heat for the world title.
Round 4 of competition at the Rip Curl Pro Search, held in Ocean Beach, Calif., could continue Saturday, conditions permitting.