- WSL / Brent Bielmann

After an epic week on Oahu's North Shore, Kelly Slater has won the Billabong Pro Pipeline. After beating Seth Moniz in a generational clash for the ages, Slater, who's a week away from turning 50 years old, starts the 2022 Championship Tour with a huge, statement-making victory and will kick-off the season in the yellow leader's jersey.

Winning his first Championship Tour event at Pipe back in 1992, this marks 30 years since Slater first topped the podium. It's the eighth win at Pipe for the 11-time World Champion -- who has now ignited the conversation about a run at a possible record-breaking 12th Title. Slater's last win at Pipe came in 2013. His last CT win came at the 2016 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

"I was out there just telling myself, be in the moment no matter how much tension there is, just breathe," a very emotional Slater said following the Final.

Finals Day Highlights - Kelly Slater Reminds The World Why He's Still The Best
From the first heat of the day to the last, the 11-time World Champ was on a mission at the Billabong Pro Pipeline.

"I said just stay in the moment, just soak it up, even if he beats you, just love it all. I committed my life to this. To all of this. To all of the heartbreak and winning and all this crap, you know, I've hated lots of it, but I savor this and this is the best win of my life," Slater continued.

The Final opened with a flurry of punishing exchanges between Slater and Moniz. Slater went all in on a frothy Backdoor mutant, Moniz fell on his opener at Pipe. It would take awhile before Pipe eventually pounded the adrenaline out of both surfers and they finally settled in.

Slater landed the first body blow, a 9-point ride for an incredibly well-threaded Backdoor barrel. To drive the point home to his competitor, Slater buzzed the beach and gave a fist-pump to the crowd, who roared in appreciation.

Slater continued to live rent free in Moniz's head as the young Hawaiian continued to get bounced around. Meanwhile, with less than 20 minutes in the heat Slater found another wave at Backdoor for a 7-point ride that put Moniz in a combination situation.

Kelly Slater Slater hanging on by his toenails at Backdoor. - WSL / Tony Heff

Slater upped the ante with an 8.17 at Backdoor. Moniz finally responded with a disappearing act at Pipe, but after a messy exit to the barrel the judges only tossed him a 3.10.

The two ended the heat trading 9-point rides, but in the end, Slater's date with history was not to be denied.

"This may be it for me, I'm going to have to have a talk with myself before Sunset," Slater said during the award's ceremony.

"It was really special just sharing a Final out there with him," Seth said from the winner's stage. "It was an honor to surf against him and a big privilege for me to be out there with him."

Seth Moniz With his best result at Pipe, Seth Moniz has lots of reason to smile after being part of history. - WSL / Brent Bielmann

In the Semifinals, Slater faced Miguel Pupo, who had been enjoying a dream run throughout the event. But that dream turned nightmarish before priority had even been established when Slater duped Pupo into a paddling interference. Slater then when to work on a Backdoor barrel to put the screws to the Brazilian surfer. Needing a high 6-point ride to overcome Slater, Pupo made one last charge at the buzzer but ultimately came up short.

"It was a weird start, I was really looking for Backdoor," Slater explained. "I was still going to try and make some of that wave. It's an unfortunate way for a heat to go."

"Me and Seth need to have a heat out here ... that would be awesome," he smiled at the thought of taking on the young Hawaiian in the Final.

For Moniz's part in the Semis, with the conditions at Pipe flexing, local knowledge proved to be a point of differentiation as he took out injury replacement surfer Caio Ibelli. Both surfers put it all on the line with some sketchy drops and heavy beatings, but in the end the 24-year-old Hawaiian was able to hang on to fulfill Slater's wishes.

Kelly Slater Kelly Slater at Pipe during the first heat of the day. - WSL / Tony Heff

"I'm speechless, to take on Kelly Slater in the Final," a gassed Moniz said from the water afterwards.

Slater's run started in the first heat of the day when he dispatched Kanoa Igarashi. Not happy with his 0-3 record against the Japanese surfer, Slater's intentions were clear from the first wave he rode. A steely competitor, Igarashi never really found his groove as he yielded the heat to the GOAT.

In Hawaiian grudge match, Moniz took on John John Florence in the Quarters. Scoring a dreamy 9-point Backdoor pit, Moniz jumped out ahead early, forcing Florence, who was undefeated in his last two starts at Pipe, to play catch. Florence counted with a 9-pointer of his own, but in the battle of back-up scores, Moniz had the advantage to take the heat win.

With Slater taking out the men's event, now all eyes turn to the history being made on the women's side. The first-ever, full-length Championship Tour event for the women at Pipeline is down to the Semifinals. World Champs Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright are leading the charge, but wildcard Moana Jones Wong and veteran Lakey Peterson.

Seth Moniz Seth Moniz enroute to a 9.60 at Backdoor to take control of his Quarterfinal heat againt two-time World Champ John John Florence. - WSL / Tony Heff

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

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