Day two’s peak at the Billabong Pipe Masters was Greatest Of All Time Kelly Slater scoring a perfect 10 on a backdoor barrel in his round of 32 heat.
Two Hawaii surfers emerged from the round of 32 after six started the day still alive.
John John Florence returned to competition after an ACL injury and barely made it through the elimination round. But day two was a different story. The North Shore surfer and two-time world champion handily beat fellow Hawaii surfer Ezekiel Lau in their head-to-head matchup. Florence scored a 9.7 on his fourth wave and claimed it with authority.
Tour rookie Moniz also impressed in his heat versus Maui’s Billy Kemper. Moniz’s best wave was an 8.43.
Moniz needs a win at the Pipe Masters to earn the second qualifying spot in the Olympics. Both Florence and Slater have a better chance than Moniz at qualifying for the 2020 games. Florence is in qualifying position right now and said that was a big reason why he returned to competition this week. Slater, competing in his 27th Pipe Masters, can edge John John and make it to Tokyo with a better finish than the two-time world champ.
Slater and Moniz are scheduled to surf against each other in the round of 16. Florence will battle Australia’s Soli Bailey in the next round.
With Kauai surfer Sebastian Zietz’s loss to top American Kalohe Andino in the round of 32, Zietz loses qualification on the World Surf League Championship Tour for 2020.
Contest officials did not sound confident that the Pipe Masters would run on Thursday, though there is still a chance. The waiting period goes through December 20th.