- WSL / Damien Poullenot
- WSL / Damien Poullenot

On paper it looked like the heat of the round, and when it came time to surf, the battle between Filipe Toledo and Kelly Slater far exceeded expectations.

As swell continued to pump for the second day in a row, the Oi Rio Pro was relocated down the beach to Barrinha to try and harness the Atlantic power. Starting the Round of 16 was the grudge match between Toledo and Slater. While Toledo holds the lead in their head-to-head match-ups with three wins to Slater's two, it was Slater that struck the last blow, winning a decisive heat in the Quarterfinals of the Corona Bali Protected.

Kicking off the men's competition for the day, Toledo opened the heat by dropping a 9-point hammer on Slater. Setting the pace with a masterfully executed combination of top turn to full rotation, there was clearly some fire in his belly.

Day 3 Post Show: Filipe Toledo Finds Redemption
Filipe Toledo overthrows Kelly Slater and after three massive days of competition, Finals day is set for Sunday at the Oi Rio Pro.

Undaunted, Slater came right back with an epic ride of his own. A few minutes later he pulled into a heaving, cavernous barrel, threaded section after section as the tube spun and compressed on the sandbar. In classic Slater fashion, he came flying out with his arms outstretched to the crowd. The judges awarded him with a 9.5 for the effort, putting him in a commanding position in the early days of the heat.

With just over seven minutes left in the heat Slater pulled into another pit. Not quite as deep or perilous, he got a mid-range 5.33 for the ride, which was enough to vault him into the lead.

But Toledo was unrelenting. With five minutes left he found a barrel of his own. Steep and deep, he was spit out to a standing ovation from the packed beach. The judges tossed him an 8.67. Game, set, match. Toledo had got his redemption on Slater.

Filipe Toledo with 2 Top Excellent Scored Waves vs. K.Slater
Filipe Toledo with 2 Top Excellent Scored Waves vs. K.Slater, 06/22/2019

"On home turf, with the local support, it couldn't be better here in Rio with 20,000 people at the beach and every single one of them in my favor," grinned Toledo back on the beach.

"It was fun, just the energy of it. You can feel the crowd," agreed Slater. "I couldn't hear the commentators, but judging by the crowd you can kind of tell what's going on. It was a nice battle. I had fun, it was a good time. Obviously, I would have liked to go a little further and make the Quarters but losing to Filipe, you have to expect it."

In terms of their back-and-forth over the last few months and their friendly rivalry, Slater finds inspiration in going head to head against someone more than 20 years his junior.

"Any contest now he's the guy to beat probably-him and John [Florence] and Gabriel [Medina]. I got him the last couple times and now he got me. I couldn't find that second good wave," explained Slater.

Slater Puts on Huge Performance, Bows out in R16
In the highly-anticipated Saquarema Super Heat, Slater puts down a 9.50 against defending event champ Filipe Toledo at Barrinha.

"It's healthy, but at the end of the day there's a little competitive fire between us. It feels good. It's exciting," surmised Toledo. "After two losses against him this one felt pretty good."

Into the Quarterfinals, where he'll face Kanoa Igarashi, for Toledo defeating Slater was a big step forward in defending his Oi Rio Pro title. Three heats to go to the top of the podium and he's got the momentum to get him there.

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