Kelly Slater beat out John John Florence during a spectacular quarterfinal round at the 41st edition of the Billabong Pipeline Masters, but the 11-time World Surfing Champion couldn’t match Australia’s Kieren Perrow.
The match-up between Slater and Florence was viewed by some as a “passing the torch” event. Slater, who is acknowledged as the greatest surfer in the sport, isn’t sure if he’ll commit to a full season in 2012. John John Florence, on the other hand, is just 19-years-old and has a long and promising career ahead of him.
Before the event, Slater said “I see John John as the guy to beat in this contest. He’s got three 10′s already. He lives right here and surfs here every day. If I were to lose to him, there would be no shame in that.”
Florence almost beat Slater, too. With just 8 minutes left Slater trailed his protege by 16 points. Slater was able to hit two consecutive waves to score a 9.7 and a 7.83 to beat Florence with just 46 seconds remaining.
Slater said “I was just trying to hold John John off for one more year. This might have been my last chance to get a few waves against him. He’s going to dominate Pipe for the next 20 years.”