BELLS BEACH, Australia (AP) — Kelly Slater has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Bells Beach World Surf League event while defending champion Stephanie Gilmore lost her final-eight contest on Friday.
Eleven-time world champion Slater will face Australian Ryan Callinan in the next round. The 47-year-old American beat Brazilian Peterson Crisanto 10.80 points to 6.87 in two-meter (6.5-foot) waves, while Callinan defeated American Conner Coffin 13.93 to 9.93.
Slater is returning from a lengthy layoff last season because of broken right foot. He was eliminated in his second-round heat in the WSL’s season-opening event two weeks ago on the Gold Coast in Australia’s Queensland state.
Seven-time world champion Gilmore was beaten by Hawaiian Malia Manuel, who used a bigger board in the large swells to claim a 10.77 to 8.70 win.
“I rode five inches up from my normal board so it still felt good because I had some time on it in the winter,” said Manuel.
Manuel’s semifinal opponent will be American 17-year-old Caroline Marks, who won the Gold Coast women’s event for her first WSL victory.
The WSL circuit will help determine qualifiers for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, where surfing will make its debut. The top 10-ranked men and eight highest-ranked women on the 2019 tour will be among those qualifying for the 2020 Games.
Slater, who will be 48 next February, has said he hopes to qualify for the U.S. team.
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