BREAKING: Cocoa Beach Native Kelly Slater Wins Billabong Pro Pipeline in Hawaii
By Space Coast Daily // February 5, 2022
Kelly Slater defeats Seth Moniz in thrilling final 18.77-12.53
ABOVE VIDEO: Kelly Slater will compete against Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the Quarterfinals of Billabong Pro Pipeline in Hawaii. Coverage starts at 2:30 p.m. ET.
ABOVE VIDEO: Kelly Slater defeats Seth Moniz in thrilling Billabong Pro Pipeline final 18.77-12.53
OAHU, HAWAII (WSL) – After a couple memorable days at Pipeline which saw the lineup go from postcard-perfect to borderline-unruly, then back to classic Backdoor, the field for the Billabong Pro Pipeline Finals Day has been set.
With an XXL swell on the way conditions are looking spicy for this weekend, and when competition resumes we’ll see on the men’s side the greatest surfer of all time Kelly Slater fighting for an eighth Championship Tour victory at Pipeline days out from his 50th birthday, two Rookies chasing a win at their debut event and perennial finalists trying to finally achieve a long-held dream. Oh, and there’s also two brothers from Brazil who have both managed to surf their way into the draw.
The women will see two World Champions in the draw, as well as a fierce local wildcard and the return of one of the sport’s great competitors, which will guarantee fireworks before crowning the first women’s Championship Tour Pipeline champion.
Kelly Slater vs Kanoa Igarashi
After Kelly Slater advanced to the Quarters by scoring a near-perfect ride in the last seconds of his Round of 16 heat against Barron Mamiya, he was asked by commentator Rosie Hodge what his intentions for the rest of the event were.
Watching Kanoa Igarashi in the lineup with Leonardo Fioravanti, Slater was aware he would face on of those two athletes in the Quarters. His answer was telling — he noted they had both scored wins against him in past CT events at Pipe, and the GOAT was out for revenge.
In the end, it was Igarashi who advanced to face Slater, and a look at their head-to-head stats shows it’s bound to be an exciting heat.
Igarashi has beaten Slater three times in their respective careers, though Slater is yet to take a win against the Olympic silver medalist. However, Slater has an almost surreal connection with PIpeline, with 7 CT wins from 28 appearances, making him the winningest surfer ever at this venue. But Igarashi is no slouch — he made the Finals at Pipe in 2016 as a Rookie, made the Semifinals in 2017 and the Quarters in 2021.
Slater, 49, has won 11 world surfing championships and is widely regarded as the greatest professional surfer of all time.
As a graduate of Cocoa Beach High School and Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee, Slater is Brevard County’s most notorious athlete.
ABOVE VIDEO: Kelly Slater was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. (Space Coast Daily Video)
Florida’s East Coast is home to many well-known and professional surfers dating all the way back to the 1930s, but one story that hits close to home is Cocoa Beach’s native Kelly Slater. Slater, born and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, is an 11-time world champion surfer and can be found on the cover of many surfing magazines at any given time.
In 1984, Slater won his first of four U.S. Surfing Championship titles; two in the Menehune division and two in the Boys’ division. At the age of 14, Kelly Slater won the Eastern Surfing Festival at Florida’s Canaveral Pier and turned down the money prize to keep an amateur status.
At the age of 16, Slater turned pro and the locals on Florida’s Space Coast couldn’t keep their eyes off of Slater as he dominated the surfing community.
A good-looking man that offered a Florida-vibe, people referred to his allure as “Slatermania,” and compared him to a young Elvis Presley. He was even included in the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People in 1991, and every local was swooning over their very own superstar from Cocoa Beach, Florida.
At the age of 20, Kelly Slater was pro-surfing’s youngest world champion. Over the next several years, Slater mastered his skills and won several titles including Pipeline Masters, Quicksilver Pro, and many more. His 11th title came in 2011, at the age of 39, all while his local hometown continued to cheer him on.