The thing everyone wants to know in 2012 is how much Slater will commit to defending his 11th crown.

Each year he bristles at questions about how many contests he is likely to enter, saying he will make his mind up after the opening contest at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast.

“There have been years when this approach has been a little frustrating but it’s also sort of a wildcard way of deciding,” Slater said.

“I’ve had good success on the Goldy and this year should be fun again. I can’t wait to be there.

“I’m undecided as to whether I’ll apply full time (to surf in the World Title Series), that’s probably no secret, I’ll go by feel and whatever feels right internally I’ll stick with that.”

This year’s championship lineup sees an historic age gap of 23 years between the oldest and youngest competitors.

The oldest competitor on tour is Californian Taylor Knox who turns 41 in May while Slater, who turned 40 on February 11, is the second oldest.

The youngest surfers on tour are Kolohe Andino, 17, from California and 18-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Medina.

Slater says while he’s coming into the start of the season with a couple of niggling injuries he’s in good shape overall.

“I hurt my ribs pretty badly a couple of weeks back but they should be OK by Snapper time,” Slater said.

“I’m much better all around now than when I was 20 … I focus more on enjoying my surfing than expanding day to day, but I still get kicked into gear when I see what everyone is working on and doing.

“Being in the environment on tour with the guys gets you going pretty quickly.”

The Quiksilver Pro will run from February 25 to March 7.