11 times World Champion Kelly Slater wins Billabong Pro Pipeline with a near-perfect performance. Meanwhile Hawaiian Moana Jones Wong defeated 5 times World Champion Carissa Moore in the final, jumping to Nº.1 on WSL Rankings.
This weekend, 11-time World Champion Surfer Kelly Slater (USA) won the Billabong Pro Pipeline. This is the first stop on the World Surf League 2022 Championship Tour (CT). Slater defeated local hero Seth Moniz (HAW) with a near-perfect score of 18.77 (out of 20). In his 30th year surfing, Slater has earned his 8th CT win at the Banzai Pipeline, marking his 56th CT victory.
“I don’t even know what to say. I was out there just telling myself to be in the moment, no matter how much tension there is. Just breathe. I thought Seth (Moniz) broke the combo because of the crowd and I said, ‘Just stay in the moment, soak it up.’” -Kelly Slater, Banzai Pipeline winner.
Both surfers could feel the exhaustion from the two previous heats in demanding conditions, as Slater and Moniz wiped out on their first few rides. However, ten minutes in, the 49-year-old turned it up with an extra-long forehand barrel at Backdoor for a 9-point ride and early lead.
While Moniz’ attempts remained unsuccessful, Slater kept on building his Final with a 7.17 to put Moniz in a combination situation to challenge him for the title. Slater found a third gem on Backdoor to improve his score to an 8.17.
With two minutes remaining, both surfers locked back-to-back 9+ points barrels at Backdoor and the crowd erupted on the beach, putting a final touch to this week of high-performance surfing.
“We had a special moment before our Final and it was really special sharing a Final with him out there. Honestly, I felt like I was just out there watching him surf underneath me and every time he got a wave it was an eight or nine, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, here we go.’” -Seth Moniz
Earlier in the day, Slater had won the heats against Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Miguel Pupo (BRA). Igarashi had a 3-0 record against Slater until their Quarterfinal match, where Slater displayed all his cards and won in dominating fashion.
For Pupo, the heat began with an interference on him as Slater looked to go Backdoor while Pupo had his eyes on surfing Pipeline, deemed as a non-makeable wave.
As this is Moniz third season on the CT, he continues to impress with massive results, and is a favorite when it comes to big, hollow waves. Despite falling short for the Pipeline title, he earned a career-best CT result finish after dismantling two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) in the Quarterfinals and former CT surfer, Caio Ibelli (BRA) in the Semifinals.
Moana Jones Wong (HAW) made history by winning the Billabong Pro Pipeline in an all-Hawaiian Final against five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW). This first-ever full women’s event on the WSL Championship Tour at the North Shore culminated with Wong’s victory.
“I can’t believe it, I’m just losing it right now. This is the best moment of my life and I’m so baffled. I never thought I was ever going to accomplish this. Carissa Moore is my favorite surfer and my hero. I always wanted to have a Final at Pipeline with her.” -Moana Jones Wong, CT winner.
The 22-year-old surfer committed her time to the Pipeline lineup, proven to be one of the most challenging waves in the world. Now, she has put the CT on alert with her performance in competition. Last December she won the HIC Pipe Pro and now has stepped up her game against the world’s best athletes, claiming her first CT win.
Wong began the Final with two back-to-back rides on Banzai Pipeline to post an early lead of 12 points. As the local hero got up to her feet and paddled towards the waves, the crowd erupted at the beach. This pushed Moore further up, as the World Champion was against the ropes with 10 minutes remaining.
Time ran out and Wong got a final opportunity to get a clean exit for a 7.67 while Moore admitted defeat and congratulated Moana. Now, Moana holds this season’s World title and will receive a season wildcard slot into the next stop of the WSL 2022 Championship Tour: the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, opening next week.
“I feel like I’m constantly learning. Today was a little bit outside of my comfort zone, there was a lot of water moving and for me, it was just about putting in some more time with only another surfer out. Congratulations Moana, there’s no one more deserving, she’s put in years and years out here and you could tell she did a great job.” -Carissa Moore.
Carissa Moore has added another excellent result to kick-start her defending campaign on this 2022 CT.