When Finals day gets underway at the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask on Sunday the first heat of the day could be one of the defining moments of the 2021 Championship Tour season. Eleven-time World Champ Kelly Slater is set to face off against Jack Robinson in a generational clash of the titans.
Both surfers have been surfing lights out throughout the event, with the edge going to Robinson who put in the heat of the day in the Round of 32 with a 17-point, heat-winning performance against Julian Wilson. But every day is a new day at Pipe, and with a couple days off before their heat, both surfers will have a chance to recharge the batteries and reset.
For Slater, this is another moment in his storied career in which he could potentially keep another generation in check. Slater's made a career out of single-handedly eviscerating generations. As a young pup in his teens, as the 1980s transitioned to the '90s, Slater shattered the spirits of World Champs like Martin Potter and Barton Lynch.
Into the '90s he was savage against his own peers. His best friends, guys like Rob Machado and Ross Williams and Shane Dorian, were shown zero mercy. Then, after a brief hiatus at the turn of the century, he was back to dance in the skulls of rising stars Andy Irons, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. And most recently, he's had a few epic clashes with John John Florence at Pipe and Teahupo'o.
Now, as he's only about a year away from turning 50, he's taking on Aussie wonder kid Jack Robinson. But Robinson is no ordinary rookie. He's a straight up threat to Slater and could easily send the GOAT packing.
Born and bred in West Oz's heaviest slabs, forged in the fire of the North Shore over the last few seasons, he could run the table and win the Pipe Masters. No problem. His Arakawa-shaped blades are looking razor sharp right now. He's posted up at the Volcom house watching Pipe all day every day. And taking out the 11-time World Champ in his first event as a full-time Championship Tour competitor? That's all the motivation the kid needs.
This is one of the can't-miss heats of the year. Be sure to keep it locked here for Finals Day on December 20.