With the green light to get back in the water, the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask got underway today and there was no shortage of drama. From World Champs rolling, to upsets, to some serious gut-check performances, it was a busy day. But when the spray finally settled, these are some of the big storylines to emerge from the Pipeline:

World Champs Remain Steady In Turbulent Waters

John John Florence was the only World Champ of the day to surf twice, and in his bid to capture his first Pipe Masters win, he looked, well, right at home. Threading an impossible barrel at Backdoor early in the day for an 8-point ride, he cruised to an easy win against Connor O'Leary. Then, in the Round of 16, he put the breaks on rookie Matthew McGillivray's run to earn himself a spot in the Quarterfinals where he will face Leonardo Fioravanti.

Italo Ferreira, Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater were also winners on the day. Ferreira hasn't been dominant in his outings, but he's been getting the job done. Slater copped a beating in his heat, but an old hat at Pipe, he advanced on. And then there's Medina, who showed why he's got the highest winning percentage at Pipe out of anybody on Tour.

Shocking Backdoor Barrel Escape, Florence Makes The Impossible Look Too Easy
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Threading the needle for an 8-point ride, most cameramen stopped filming as the two-time World Champ went deep.

It's Upsets Galore As Top Seeds Sent Packing

There was no mercy for the top seeds at unruly Pipe today. It started with Filipe Toledo's sleepy performance against a surging Fioravanti, who's been on a hot one lately.

Rookie Matthew McGillivray showed that he's ready for prime time, taking out local favorite Seth Moniz. A few heats later, another rookie, Jack Robinson, blew past perennial World Title contender Julian Wilson in the performance of the day. Then, before the Round of 32 ended, Miguel Pupo handed future American Olympian Kolohe Andino his walking papers.

PIPELINE, HI - DECEMBER 17: Leonardo Fioravanti of Italy placed second in Heat 4 of Round 2 of Billabong Pipe Masters Presented by Hyro Flask on December 17, 2020 in Oahu, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League via Getty Images) Leonardo Fioravanti was on fire today, and after starting his season with a surf-off against Mikey Wright, he's now into the Quarters of the Pipe Masters. - WSL / Tony Heff

Jack Robinson Lives Up To The Hype

We've all been waiting to see what Robinson is capable of against the world's best at Pipe, and turns out, he's capable of a hell of a lot. Dropping a 17-point heat score, the highest of the day, the rookie has positioned himself as one of the surfers to beat.

When the comp resumes, Robinson will face off against Slater in an epic generational clash. In his 30 years on Tour, Slater's become notorious for taking out any and all generations. From the late '80s/early '90s scene with Martin Potter and Barton Lynch, to his own Momentum Generation, to Andy Irons and Mick Fanning, all the way to Florence and Medina, can Robinson finally halt the GOAT's run?

Rookie Sensation Robinson Lives Up To The Hype At Pipeline, Posts Day's Highest Heat Total
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Jack Robinson looked phenomenal during his CT debut at Pipe, earning himself a Round of 16 match up against seven-time Pipe Master Kelly Slater.

California Bumming As The Golden State Boys Go Down

For those surf fans from California, today was not a good day. Not only did Andino get knocked out, but so did Griffin Colapinto and Conner Coffin. All three had high hopes of doing some damage at Pipe and making it deep into the event, but after some impressive warm-up sessions, they found themselves making an early exit from the event.

Griffin Colapinto Griffin Colapinto had high hopes for a big result at Pipe but will have to reset for stop number two at Sunset Beach after being knocked out early. - WSL / Tony Heff

Don't Sleep On Two-Time Pipe Master Jeremy Flores

One of the older surfers in the draw, France's Jeremy Flores looked like a spry young man today as he reminded everyone why he's a two-time Pipe Master, taking out Wildcard local Joshua Moniz.

"I don't like surfing against good people, I'd rather surf against people I don't like," Flores laughed after the heat.

Keep an eye on Flores, he may not have been in the spotlight going into the event, but he's capable of doing a lot of damage.

PIPELINE, HI - DECEMBER 17: Jeremy Flores of France winning Heat 11 of Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters Presented by Hyro Flask on December 17, 2020 in Oahu, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League via Getty Images)
Headline/NameBillabong Pipe Masters Presented bu Hydro Flask - Men's WSL Championship Tour 2021 Jeremy Flores finding the flow as he hunts for his third Pipe Masters victory. - WSL / Tony Heff
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