11x World Champion, Cocoa Beach Native Kelly Slater Knocks Out Title Favorite at Billabong Pipe Masters

By  //  December 17, 2018

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2012 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

ABOVE VIDEO: Kelly Slater stuns announcers during his run on Sunday.

OAHU, HAWAII (WSL) –  The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT) and final jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS), saw a climactic day of competition as Rounds 2 and 3 were called on in excellent Pipe conditions with wave face heights reaching 15-to-20 feet.

The shocking elimination of World No. 2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) saw the Brazilian’s hope for a world title dissolve at the hands of 11x World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the final heat of the day (Round 3 Heat 12).

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA) also endured heavy heats, but ultimately survived to continue his fight for the prestigious World Title alongside Julian Wilson (AUS).

The day’s final heat carried huge repercussions as 11-time World Champion Slater took on the World Title hopeful Toledo.

The Floridian from Cocoa Beach put a first good score on the board with a decent backdoor tube but the excitement reached an all-time high when both surfers started on back-to-back bombs on the 10-minute mark.

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ABOVE VIDEO: Kelly Slater put an end to Filipe Toledo’s World Title campaign in Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters.

Slater, 46, found the exit for an 8.67 (out of a possible 10) and Toledo looked like he was coming out of a perfect ride until the lip clipped him at the very last second. The result remained unchanged and Slater advanced into Round 4, ending Toledo’s World Title campaign, just shy of the final competition day of the season.

“I shared a little lineup stuff with Filipe,” Slater said.

“I wanted to see a good battle come down. And just as a fan, I wanted to see a come from behind victory, at least a good battle in the end. We just had a couple of texts back and forth, you know, I really did want to help him out, but I didn’t I guess. It was fun, there was a lot of action out there. I saw a lot of good waves go unridden, I feel like I got lucky. Filipe didn’t go into a really good backdoor wave, it’s just experience, he didn’t quite see what they were going to do.”

11x WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) upsets the 2018 World Title race and advances to Round 4. (Image by WSL/ Cestari)

In his sixth season among the world’s best surfers, Toledo put on a great fight and claimed two event wins at the Oi Rio Pro and the Corona Open J-Bay earlier this summer, to arrive in Hawaii tied for second place on the rankings with Wilson.

“I took a really bad wipeout at the end of that wave and everything went black for a few seconds,” Toledo said.

“This is surfing, we put in so much work all year long, sometimes going away from the family on a trip to get better in waves like this, so this is hard. But I’m definitely proud of myself. I’ve had an amazing year as a father, as a son, as a professional surfer, it was really amazing. I’m definitely sad right now but at the same time it was an honor to surf perfect, heavy Pipe with Kelly in the water.”

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