Kelly Slater collected a first WSL Championship Tour win since 2016 at Pipeline ©Getty Images

Kelly Slater demonstrated why so many regard him as the greatest surfer of all time at Pipeline, defying the fact he turns 50 next week to win the season-opening World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour event.

The American - an 11-time WSL world champion - beat Olympic silver medallist Kanoa Igarashi, Miguel Pupo and then local surfer Seth Moniz in an excellent display on finals day to claim victory.

It is Slater's eighth WSL win on the famous Pipeline wave, and first victory on the Championship Tour since 2016.

Slater began a quarter-final against Japan's Igarashi as he meant to go on, scoring 5.83 for the first wave he rode which was more than the Tokyo 2020 runner-up would score at any point.

Slater went on to receive scores of 7.67 and 6.50 for a two-wave total 6.67 points clear of Igarashi.

Pupo was dispatched in the semi-final in less satisfactory circumstances, after the Brazilian was hit with an interference penalty which reduced his scoring power.

Pupo's second scoring wave was halved as punishment, allowing Slater to claim a narrow victory by 9.76 points to 8.58.

Moniz, who had earlier dumped out John John Florence in an all-Hawaiian quarter-final punctuated by Moniz's brilliant hands-behind-the-back backdoor effort for 9.60, awaited Slater in the final.

Yet Slater was ready, bursting into an early lead and then making absolutely sure of the victory with a brilliant ride two minutes from time, dropping in late, disappearing inside the barrel of a wave and later emerging, unscathed, to salute the crowd and receive a whopping 9.77 points.

Moniz - less than half Slater's age - was not done, producing a similarly dramatic drop with his final attempt, but Slater still ended up 6.24 points clear.

Slater called it "the best win of my life" and is the early Championship Tour leader as he chases a record 12th WSL world title.

Women's semi-finals and the final are scheduled for tomorrow, if conditions allow.