The 40-year-old veteran proved he is more than capable of maintaining focus, finding the Pipeline and Backdoor with little effort to defeat local wildcard Billy Kemper and score a heat total of 18.63 out of 20.
“It drives you nuts when you’re in the event and the waves are so good on the opening day,” Slater said.
“Backdoor got a little better today because the swell got a little more North, but last night was A-plus Pipe and everyone knew about it. There are really good waves out there.
“We were scrapping to get anything going and I just got in synch. Billy (Kemper) and I were scrapping for sure and he let me know he wanted to win that heat as bad as I did.”
The American is currently ranked number two in the ASP World Championship Title behind Australia’s Joel Parkinson, and is looking for an unprecedented 12th title at the season-ending tournament.
Slater, Parkinson, and third-ranked Mick Fanning of Australia were seeded straight through to round three and entered the fray on Sunday.
Parkinson only sweetened his chances of taking his first title with a Round 3 victory over Kalani Chapman and another over C.J. Hobgood and Kieren Perrow in Round 4 to see him through to the quarter-finals.
Fanning’s slim chance of grabbing the crown himself, however, was eliminated when he was outsurfed by wildcard Shane Dorian.
“Shane (Dorian) has been a hero of mine since I learned how to surf and I wanted to be in the water with him,” Fanning said.
“We said we’d make it a fun one out there. We were going tit-for-tat and I was close on the last one but it got me at the end.
“I was relaxed going in to this event because it (the ASP World Title) was a long shot. There was no pressure on me and I wanted to give it my all and finish well. I had a good heat and threw everything I had at it.”
Meanwhile, American Dane Reynolds posted the event’s first perfect 10-point ride. The wildcard beat Australia’s Kai Otton in his second heat of the day after he utilised a deep backdoor barrel in his first to see Adriano de Souza of Brazil on his way in Round 3.
“There weren’t any rights out there. It just looks like the right swell and size for the rights but they weren’t coming in,” Reynolds said.
“On my right, it was crumbly and I was trying to get under the lip. It crumbled and I just got under the whitewash. I was deep and just pushed through it. It’s the first 10 I got out here.”
But Reynolds lost some momentum during the afternoon, falling short in his Round 4 match-up against Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz, who will now advance straight to the quarter-finals.
Zietz also caused the morning’s big upset by beating local favourite, 20-year-old John John Florence in Round 3.
The Billabong Pipe Masters, in Memory of Andy Irons, hosts the ASP Top 34 along with local wildcards all competing to requalify for the 2013 ASP Top 34. It is also the final event of the Vans Triple Crown.
**UPDATE – There was no action on Thursday, the sixth allotted day of the event window, due to poor surf conditions. The next call is Friday at 7:30am local time**
Remaining Round 2 results
Heat 4: Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.77 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.60 def. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 12.76
Heat 6: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.73 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.17
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.66 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.90
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.47 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 3.83
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.33 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.12
Round 3 results
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 7.83
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.83
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.83 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.16 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.17
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.60 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.87
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.17 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 13.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.06
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.13 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.13
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.63 def. Billy Kemper (HAW) 15.50
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.66
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.83 def. Jeremy Flo res (FRA) 10.10
Heat 12: Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07
Round 4 results
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.40, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.96
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.83
Remaining Round 4 match-ups
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW)