Ivan Florance will be the Australian’s replacement.
Frederico Morais has new opponents for his debut at the Billabong Pipe Masters, the opening stage of the 2022 season of the world surfing circuit. Due to Ryan Callinan’s confirmed absence, the heat draw was changed and the Portuguese surfer is now joined by Kelly Slater in heat 9, as well as Peruvian rookie Lucca Mesinas.
Originally placed with Australian Ethan Ewing and Hawaiian rookie Imaikalani deVault, this was a predictable situation, and one that we had already anticipated, given the injury suffered by Callinan earlier in the year. So, with the confirmation of the Australian’s absence, Kikas’ paths crossed with the 11-time world champion, who is on his way to turning 50.
Frederico will face Kelly for the fifth time in the world elite, having only beaten the American on one occasion. It was the first time they faced each other, when Kikas was not even part of the world elite that the Portuguese emerged victorious. A victory that happened in the first stage of Frederico Morais in the WCT, in 2013, in Supertubos, eliminating Slater in the repechage.
This time, the two will match forces with a third element in the middle, in a heat in which the two best go straight to round 3, while the third will have to go to the repechage. However, the victory in the heat could be worth a rise in seeding. This is when Frederico arrives in Hawaii as the ninth seed.
Also noteworthy is the entry into the race by Ivan Florence, one of the brothers of Hawaiian John John Florence. After they both shined at a Hawaiian QS event late last year, the WSL decided to reward Ivan with an invite to replace Ryan Callinan. Ivan Florence was thus placed in the same heat as world champion Gabriel Medina, his brother’s great rival, and where Australian rookie Callum Robson is also present.