WATCH LIVE: Space Coast Native Kelly Slater Returns to Action in Round of 32 at Hurley Pro Sunset Beach in Hawaii

Slater will compete in Heat 13 vs South Africa's Matthew McGillivray

ABOVE VIDEO: Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by Shiseido

(World Surf League) – When it comes to North Shore lore, heroes are made at Pipeline, but legends are made at Sunset. From a 17-year-old Jeff Hakman winning the first Duke contest in 1965 to a 50-year-old Kelly Slater paddling out today at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach as the number one ranked surfer in the world, the wide-open, heavy-water expanse of Sunset — known as Paumalū in Hawaiian — demands a unique combination of talent, physical toughness and plain, old salt-water grit.

Names like Eddie Aikau, Reno Abellira and Barry Kanaiaupuni are among those that set the standard here, and more than a half century since the great Duke Kahanamoku greeted the first competitors at Sunset, the story was refreshed for a new era.

After securing his hero status at Pipe a couple weeks ago and confirming his intentions to chase a 12th World Title on the 2022 Championship Tour, Slater was brought back down to Earth in the Opening Round of the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach.

Facing wildcard Barron Mamiya, who Slater eliminated in the dying seconds of the Billabong Pro Pipeline, and Aussie Rookie Callum Robson, the GOAT found himself relegated to the Elimination Round after mistakenly giving Robson the last wave of the heat. In a large, building north swell, the Robson found a clean line and laid down a solid under-the-hood hack to get the score.

With his back up against the wall in the Elimination Round, Slater faced South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray and wildcard replacement Koa Smith. Switching from the quad-fin setup that he rode in th Opening Round to a more traditional thruster setup in the Elimination round, Slater immediately appeared more in tune with the turbulent conditions.

Locking in a pair of 6-point rides to jump out to a commanding lead, the back end of the heat turned into a nail-bitter as Smith got a bomb with no time on the clock but ultimately came up short, allowing Slater to advance.

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