Defending Pipeline champion Jack Robinson took down surfing legend Kelly Slater in Hawaii on a bumper day for the Australians as the World Surf League resumed in huge swell in Hawaii.
After spending two days waiting for the green light, Robinson, Callum Robson and Ryan Callinan took out their opening heats at Oahu as the waves hit more than 3m and all six Aussies advanced to the knockout rounds.
Robson, wearing a helmet in the huge surf, scored the ride of the day for a nine-point wave that helped him defeat three-time world champion Gabriel Medina to progress through to the knockout stages.
Robinson, who launched into the 2023 season with a win at the Pipeline Pro before missing the season-ending finals, said there was no hiding the first day nerves as the new competition got under way.
“I was all fired up for that heat, me and Kelly and Rio. It was a good heat,” 26-year-old Robinson said.
“I had butterflies before the heat and I was trying to let them fly – first heat, first day. It’s good to be back.
“I’ve got to enjoy it, especially right now I have a baby and my whole family here.”
Ewing, the world No.2, finished second in his heat but still advanced into the third round with Robinson, who squeezed through a barrel late in his heat to score the 9.0 ride.
Ryan Callinan added to the Australian winners, with Queenslander Liam O’Brien and tour rookie Jacob Wilcox also winning their elimination rounds after coming last in their heats.
The women’s event, with five Australians competing, remains on standby and is yet to begin.