Slater -- who has 23 years on his young gun of an opponent -- was aggressive at the start, controlling most of the heat with modest scores. At first, he appeared to be using priority wisely, pushing Medina to take a wave that didn't deliver on the inside. But with fewer than five minutes remaining, Slater let Medina slip into a smaller, inside wave without priority, watching him earn a heat-high score of 7.17.
Needing 6.51 to reclaim the lead, Slater quickly answered back just before the horn. The young star and the seasoned Champ waited together for scores on the sand, as cameras snapped and clicked.
Slater's score came in at a 5.93, handing the victory to his opponent.
"That was pretty close," Medina said. "It was a tough heat against Kelly, I knew it was going to be hard. I'm stoked to be in the Quarters, it's a tough event and I'm looking for a solid result here."
As the wind kicked up and conditions began to deteriorate, next up was three-time Bells Beach winner Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS). Parkinson's polished rail surfing kept him in the lead for the first 20 minutes, while Kerr paddled and idled, without a score. With just 10 minutes left, though, Kerr kicked into gear and grabbed the win; he'll face off against fellow Aussie Owen Wright (AUS) in Quarterfinal 2 when competition resumes.
"A good one came right before our heat started, so I just sat there waiting for one of them," Kerr said afterward. "Then it completely changed, the wind came up and it was really tough."
Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) was the next heat, for their fourth matchup at Bells. Fanning, who won here last year, topped the Brazilian all three times. Andre held the lead for the first half, while the Australian sought out a solid wave. Fanning finally found one and scored a 7.00, which put him back in the game. He backed it up with a mid-range score, and will heads to the Quarters -- for his tenth year in a row.
"It's really tough out there and I was really anxious, I was losing my mind," said Fanning. "I got lucky with that 7-point-ride, it opened up for me with two sections. The ocean is a tricky beast, but she's gorgeous. I'll now match up with Jordy [Smith] again, we've had some great battles over the years and I'm really looking forward to it."
After the worst competitive year of his career in 2014, Jeremy Flores (FRA) had a lot to surf for in the last heat of Round 5 against past Bells runner-up Nat Young (USA), battling for the last spot in the Quarterfinals. But Young, who's currently ranked equal-thirteenth in the World, showed impressive composure in a tricky, shifting lineup. He earned two two good scores to keep the Tour vet at bay and take the win; he'll face current CT leader Filipe Toledo (BRA) in the Quarterfinals.
Tune in to Dawn Patrol Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00 local time for the next call LIVE on worldsurfleague.com. Catch waves on the go with the new WSL app.