- WSL / Brent Bielmann

New season, same GOAT. What else is there to say about Kelly Slater? Ten days away from turning 50 and he handled business at flexing Pipeline as only he can.

In a massive generational clash, Slater faced off against wildcard and Pipe heir apparent Barron Mamiya. Slater drew first blood with a hands-free barrel and then kicked out in front of Mamiya to retain priority -- a shot across the bow.

Mamiya countered with a heavy, first-reef Pipe keg. The judges threw him an 8.67 to give him the lead. Then it was Slater's turn. Locking into an 8-pointer, the heat had hit nail-bitter status when the set of the day roared through and mowed everyone down.

Replay: Kelly Slater Drops Masterful 9.23 Buzzer-Beater At Pipe
When there are 10 seconds left, don't count the GOAT out. The 11x World Champion sent chills through the beach with a massive 9.23 wave score.

And then, with time flying off the clock, the last set of the heat hit the lineup. Holding priority, Slater took the second wave of the set, an absolute bomb, and did what's he's been doing out there for 30 years -- rode it to perfection. With the horn shrieking, he got spit out in the channel and all he could do was shrug his shoulders, as if to say, "What do you want from me?"

The judges awarded Slater the first 9-point ride of the day, a heat win and a ticket into the Quarterfinals. Not bad for about five seconds of surfing.

"That's why we do it. That's what it's all about," smiled Slater after the spray had settled.

Early in the morning on Oahu's North Shore, before the sun had peeked over the Pupukea hills, with a new swell filling in on the buoys, Slater was hardly out bed when when he sleepwalked his way to a calm, cool, casual win over California rookie Jake Marshall.

John John Florence John John Florence hung on is a heavy heat against Brazilian rookie Joao Chianca that came down to the wire. Florence will now face Hawaiian Seth Moniz in the Quarters. - WSL / Tony Heff

With the Round of 32 of the Billabong Pro Pipeline off and rolling in building conditions, in terms of the three World Champions and only Pipe champions in the draw, it was Italo Ferreira to get the next piece of Pipe. In a South American clash featuring Peru's Miguel Tudela, Ferreira got straight to work.

After a brief coaching session on the beach with Pipe icon Shane Dorian, the 2019 World Champ and Pipe winner opened his account with a fall-from-the-sky drop at Backdoor that he turned into a convincing 6-point barrel ride. Three waves later he posted a 7.17 and cruised into the Round of 16. Ultimately, Ferreira's run was cut short by countryman Miguel Pupo, who put in an impressive performance to earn his spot in the Quarters.

Right about the time Peru's Lucca Mesinas was in dire need of a score against a rejuvenated Kolohe Andino, the Pacific delivered. Scoring a Pipe bomb on the buzzer, the two surfers were left on the beach waiting for the judges score to drop. Mesinas got the nod and the rookie was on into the Round of 16, where he would face another rookie, Costa Rica's Carlos Munoz.

Kanoa Igarashi Slater will now square off against Kanoa Igarashi in the Quarters. Slater is 0-3 against the Japanese Olympic silver medalist. - WSL / Tony Heff

Munoz suffered a dislocated shoulder injury at the end of his heat against Portugal's Frederico Morais when he pulled back on a wave, but managed to rally for his heat against Mesinas.

The biggest upset of the day came when Brazilian rookie Joao Chianca handed Aussie favorite Jack Robinson his walking papers. Robinson was one of the stand-outs in the Opening Round, and given his experience at Pipe, was considered a favorite to go deep in the event.

This setup a Round of 16 duel between Chianca and reigning Pipe champ John John Florence. Florence has hardly had to break a sweat thus far in the event, but with Pipe on blast, the two-time World Champ was pushed to the limit against the young Brazilian.

Trading near-perfect scores for the highest scoring heat of the day, the two went to to toe all heat long. And while he didn't advance, Chianca has now announced himself as a force to reckon with on the 2022 CT.

Luca Mesinas Peru's Lucca Mesinas was among the rookies to wreak havoc on the heat draw on a day at Pipe that won't soon be forgotten. - WSL / Brent Bielmann

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The next call will come at 7:50am local time. Check the official Surfline Forecast for full details of what's on the horizon.

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