Filipe Toledo would’ve been peaking when he drew Kelly Slater, 7x Pipe Master, in Round 3.
As you know, Kelly’s been on and off this season. Picking and choosing which events he surfs in while nursing an ongoing foot fracture. Regardless of his foot’s progress though there was no question of whether he’d surf Pipe. He might not be able to win the World Title, but he can dictate who does. And that’s exactly what he just did.
This was the fourth time Kelly has come against the preternatural Brazilian, and thus far, he’d never beaten him. That’s right, Filipe held him three to zip. But when the stage is set at shifty yet tubing Pipeline it’s hard to bet against Kelly.
Kelly built after a slow start. He nabbed himself a 6.93 mid-way, and then made a miraculous mid-tube recovery. We’re not sure how he pulled it, but after coming unstuck mid-tube he slid out on his guts straight back up onto his feet. Only Kelly could, and only Kelly would.
Filipe got a backdoor nug that might’ve hit 10 if he hadn’t have come unstuck sliding out the doggy door. Shortly after, Kelly was on his own much more makeable backdoor tube for a solid 8.67; a wave that cemented Filipe in combination situation and obliterated his hopes of winning the 2018 World Title.
Now Julian Wilson and Gab Medina are the only two fighting it out. Round 4 is on right now, so watch it, or just read Mike Ciaramella’s extended wrap from the sand later.