Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Update
Monday saw an amazing day of competition with pumping waves and some standout performances at the Bells Beach arena. Many great names came head to head to provide some great competitive surfing entertainment, with some of the biggest manoeuvres of the year so far going down in one metre clean conditions. A competition which first saw 36 male competitors was reduced to only 12 after a great day of rivalry. Round 3 saw many big names eliminated, while winners would meet in Round 4. Round 4 saw winners then advance directly into the Quarterfinals, while 2nd and 3rd place would have to battle it out to remain in competition through Round 5.
The Bells line-up for Round 3 and 4 – photo by ASP
Heat 1 of Round 4 saw defending Bells Beach title holder Adriano De Souza up against tour veteran Taj Burrow and Adam Melling. Though De Souza won the event last year, it was Taj who really shined and was able to advance directly to the Quarterfinals, through experience and expertise in the Bells line-up. “I love Bells, it feels great to be through to the Quarterfinals”, said Taj Burrow.
Heat 2 of Round 4 saw Hawaiian John John Florence up against 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater and current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina. This was a much anticipated Heat and though many eyes were on Medina and Slater, it was Florence who opened his campaign with an explosive complete aerial 360 just after taking off on a solid Bells wall. He then went on to complete the wave through a series of cutbacks and a layback turn, securing the first perfect 10 in 2014 Tour competition and a spot in the Quarterfinals. “It feels so good to win and I’m really happy. I was pretty nervous going into the Heat, it was scary to come up against Kelly and Gabriel” said John John. Furthermore, it might have been a strong wake up call to Medina, as the air was performed right in front of him as he duck dived, that indeed the World Title is still up for grabs for anyone of the competitors. Mick Fanning also went on to support Florence, stating “John John’s air was truly amazing and he deserves to get the first Perfect 10 of the year.”.
Heat 3 saw Joel Parkinson take on South African Jordy Smith and fellow countryman Owen Wright. All competitors came out bursting with great performances on the open walls of Rincon, proving to spectators and judges they are worthy to progress through to the later Rounds. It was Parkinson however, whom through rail precision and mix of cutbacks, airs and turns, was able to advance through directly to the Quarterfinals, pushing Wright and Smith to Round 5. “In most of the events I’ve surfed so far I’ve taken a while to get into the rhythm, but I love the Bell and I’m three Heats away from it”, said Parkinson.
Joel Parkinson flying high – photo by ASP
Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning came up against fellow Aussie Julian Wilson and Fred Patacchia Jnr. in Round 4, Heat 4. Though Patacchia opened, both he and Julian could not find the rhythm needed to overcome Fanning, who seemed so comfortable and at home in the long right hand conditions. Through a collaboration of powerful manoeuvres, Fanning was able to secure a combination score of 16.34, enough to secure victory and advance to the Quarterfinals. Wilson and Patacchia will now join other 2nd and 3rd place contenders in Round 5 for yet another process of elimination.
Mick Fanning wowing audiences – photo by ASP
This morning saw the Women’s Final postponed between current world number 1 Carissa Moore and Aussie ripper Tyler Wright for the Men’s Round 5 to begin.
Round 5 Heat 1 was a match-up between the Brazilians. Last year’s winner Adriano De Souza facing off with current ASP world Number 1 Gabriel Medina. Catching a few waves before Medina even got to his feet once, De Souza was able to find his form and secure a few decent scores through an aggressive forehand attack. Medina locked into a few good waves, displaying powerful surfing on his backhand, though it was not enough to come back. So far this year of competition has produced the goods for Gabriel Medina, though today it was not to be.
Heat 2 of Round 5 saw Kelly Slater come up against Adam Melling. Though Melling tried to find his form, it was no match for Slater’s head start and signature stylish approach. This saw Slater advance through to the Quarterfinals and Adam Melling knocked out of competition.
Australian young gun Julian Wilson faced off with an in form Jordy Smith in Heat 3. The two battled it out from start to finish for a position in the Quarterfinals through a display of great surfing, from powerful turns, cutbacks and airs. The crowd was in awe for both competitors, though it was Wilson who took first place and advanced to the Quarterfinals.
Heat 4 of this morning’s Round 5 was between Hawaiian Fred Patacchia Jnr. and Owen Wright. Though hurting his back a year earlier, Wright has come back to inform status and is looking more dangerous than ever. The heat allowed both goofy footers to throw out a display of powerful manoeuvres, though it was Wright to overcome the Hawaiian and advance in competition.
It’s on! Bells Beach line-up – photo by ASP
The men’s schedule is predicted to keep moving through competition today, perhaps crowning a winner later this afternoon or tomorrow. The Quarterfinals will again see many big names fight it out for the win, and become one step closer to ringing the famous Bell. Make sure you stay tuned!
Keep up to date with the live stream on aspworldtour.com, or here on the SurfStitch blog!