- WSL / Tony Heff

The 2022 Championship Tour season kicks off with the Billabong Pro Pipeline on January 29. The heat draw just dropped and straight out of the gates there are some big match-ups. A historic season opener as the women gear up to make their debut at their first full Championship Tour event at the Banzai, we will also see a record number of Rookies ready to take on the challenge of competing at the ultimate proving ground. Here's half a dozen of our favorite Opening Round heats:

Men's Heat Draw
Women's Heat Draw

Women's Heat 3: Carissa Moore v. Brisa Hennessy v. Moana Jones Wong

Get ready for a superheat between three serious contenders. Defending World Champion Carissa Moore is coming off the best season of her career after winning an Olympic Gold Medal alongside her 5th World Title. Riss has been putting extra time behind the scenes with Pipe legend Jamie O'Brien to learn the ins and outs of the wave, and she finished runner-up at the 2021 Maui Pro presented by ROXY at Pipeline to Tyler Wright. This year, she has no plans of finishing runner-up.

Speaking of runner-up, Brisa Hennessy just finished 2nd at the HIC Pipe Pro in December. In her post heat interview, she admitted the difficulty of the wave and her drive to put in more time after nearly winning the event.

Moana Jones Wong, one of the best female Pipeline surfers of her generation, will be the Wildcard in the draw. After winning the HIC Pipe Pro, and with years of experience charging some of the biggest days out there, Moana Jones Wong is one of the most seasoned and prepared athletes at Pipe.

Highlights: Moore Crushes Women's Pipe Invitational
See how Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue, Keala Kennelly and Tatiana Weston-Webb took on Pipeline.

Men's Heat 10: John John Florence v. Ryan Callinan v. Nat Young

Two-time World Champion John John Florence clinched his first Pipeline victory at the 2021 Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask, which was a long time coming for the prodigy who grew up in front of the wave. Plagued by a series of knee injuries over the past few of years, Florence was forced to take time off to recover, but now he's ready to take another win at home.

Florence will be facing off against Ryan Callinan and Nat Young, two goofy-footers very capable of upsetting Florence. Callinan finished 3rd at Bells in 2019 9th at Pipe in 2021, while Young is one of the best to ever come out of Santa Cruz and is finally back on Tour after falling off in 2016.

Highlights Day 4: John John Florence Passes A.I. For Wins On The North Shore At "Super Epic" Pipeline
With three straight wins on home soil, the 2x World Champ becomes the 2021 HIC Pipe Pro champ.

Women's Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore v. Tyler Wright v. India Robinson

Stephanie Gilmore will be going head-to-head against Tyler Wright, who won the Maui Pro presented by ROXY at Pipeline last year. Wright also has two World Titles and a knack for surfing in waves of consequence. She'll be looking to keep her dominance at Pipeline again this year.

Meanwhile, Tour Rookie India Robinson will be surfing the first heat of her CT career against two of the greatest female surfers to grace the sport. Robinson finished runner-up in pumping conditions at the ROXY Pro France last year, but she's in the Big Leagues now and this is a huge heat.

Wright Celebrates 2021 Women's Championship Tour Victory At Pipeline
Tyler Wright takes out the Maui Pro presented by ROXY at Pipeline with a stunning performance in waves of consequence.

Men's Heat 8: Kelly Slater v. Kanoa Igarashi v. Lucca Mesinas

Kelly Slater, undeniably the greatest surfer of all time, will be entering his 32nd year on tour. He's got 11 World Titles, 55 career victories and is the youngest and oldest World Champion in men's history. He'll turn 50 in a few short weeks.

The GOAT will be met by two young, in-form surfers, Kanoa Igarashi and Lucca Mesinas. Igarashi ended the '21 season at No. 8 on the Championship Tour and won the Challenger Series. He's also proven himself at Pipe over the years, with a runner up finish in 2016, a third in 2017 and a 5th in 2021.

Mesinas is the first male Peruvian to qualify for the CT. The pride of this achievement coupled with the deep surf history in Peru fuels the fire for the young Rookie to make his mark.

Perfect 10: Kelly Slater at Backdoor
In his 27th appearance at the Billabong Pipe Masters in 2019, the 11x World Champion and greatest of all time earned a perfect 10-point ride.

Women's Heat 2: Heat Tatiana Weston-Webb v. Gabriela Bryan v. Malia Manuel

Tatiana Weston-Webb nearly surfed her way to a maiden World Title last year at the Rip Curl WSL Finals. She will be facing off against Gabriela Bryan and Malia Manuel. Bryan is one of the standout members of the 2022 Rookie class, while Manuel is a hard-charging, steely veteran. With all three surfers having copious amounts of experience in Hawaiian waters, expect this heat to come down to the wire if the waves provide.

Weston-Webb, Erickson Make History With First Women's Championship Tour Heat Win At Pipeline
A new era in competitive surfing was ushered in as Tatiana Weston-Webb and Sage Erickson paddle out for the first women's Championship Tour event at the Pipeline.

Men's Heat 6: Gabriel Medina v. Jake Marshall v. Miguel Tudela

Defending World Champion Gabriel Medina will take to the water in yellow after winning the inagural Rip Curl WSL Finals at all-time Trestles last September. Medina will be facing off against 2022 Rookie Jake Marshall and Peruvian Wildcard Miguel Tudela. Marshall recently reunited with Hurley, his longtime sponsor, and will be surfing his first CT event of his career with a fresh sticker on the nose of his Sharpeye boards. Tudela finished runner-up to Josh Moniz at last year's Pipe Invitational.

Road To The Rip Curl WSL Finals: The Brilliant Dominance Of Gabriel Medina
Medina put in the most dominant season of his career, and along the way looked like he was enjoying it more than ever.

The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Pipeline gets underway on January 29. Keep it locked right here at WorldSurfLeague.com for the latest news and info as we countdown the start of the 2022 Championship Tour.

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.