Surfing legend, Kelly Slater, wins pipeline title a week before 50th

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Surfing legend, Kelly Slater, wins pipeline title a week before 50th
Copyright  Brady Lawrence/2022 World Surf League

Internationally renowned surfer, Kelly Slater, has won the 2022 World Surf League's Billabong Pro Pipeline title in Hawaii just a week before his 50th birthday.

Slater, who has 11 World Championships under his belt, defeated local favourite, 24-year-old Seth Moniz with a near-perfect score of 18.77 out of a possible 20. Moniz is also the son of Tony Moniz, one of the Californian's former rivals.

Slater was the youngest world champion when he grabbed the title at 20. He was also the oldest when he won it at 39. It was his eighth win at Pipeline and it comes 30 years after his first victory there.

On winning the title, Slater said that he was in the water giving himself a pep talk: "Trust yourself, just breathe, soak this all up, be right here in the moment."

He considers that the best guidance in life for him and for everyone. 

In his victory speech he also talked of how a lot of great people have helped him along the way and how that has guided him, teaching him things about himself.

At the end of the day, he says "it feels like it all came together" as if it were "meant to be."

Over his years of practicing the sport he has seen it explode in popularity. It even made its Olympic debut just six months ago.

After this win, Slater is now firmly in the running for a 12th world title. However, he could be hindered in doing so if he isn't allowed to compete in this year's two Australian legs.

This could be a real possiblity as he is an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccination and Australian officials have said that there will be no exemptions given in April or May.

However, since the win he has hinted that he might now retire. Either way, this latest title comes as a great gift for his 50th birthday which he'll celebrate on Friday.