The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach kicked off today on Day 1 of the waiting period.
Stop number two on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the men’s division started proceedings in three foot clean waves.
Seven heats were completed before conditions became incontestable as the tide got too low for ‘Rincon’ to work and before the tide got low enough for ‘The Bowl’ to start working the wind picked up and conditions were not deemed to be good enough for the dream tour.
The standout of the day was Kelly Slater (USA) who had the highest heat score of the day claiming two eight point rides. Kelly Slater completely dominated his heat and took the short route to round three.
“I watched a couple of heats before to try and judge which waves were the best ones,” Kelly Slater said. “I didn’t catch my wave until 10 minutes but it was a pretty good wave and then I was in sync for the good ones. The tradition here at Bells, winning the trophy and the history here all make it so special. You put everything on the line to try and win here.”
Wildcard Mason Ho (HAW) created a shock by sending reigning Bells Beach Pro winner Mick Fanning (AUS) to round two with an impressive air on the inside section, although some people seemed to think it was an April fools joke seeing Mick Fanning in round 2 but Mick Fanning wasn’t laughing.
Jeremy Flores (FRA) also performed well winning the opening heat of the day. Defeating Taj Burrow (AUS) and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) following a bad season last year and a last place finish at Snapper Rocks Jeremy Flores came out firing on all cylinders and claimed his first heat win of the year
“It was tough out there today and Rincon is a totally different wave to The Bowl,” said Jeremy Flores. “I guess I got the better waves in that heat and I surfed them. It feels really good to get a win.”
John John Florence (HAW) sailed through his Round 1 heat against rookie Italo Ferreira (BRA) and tour veteran C.J. Hobgood (USA). Florence posted a solid score early in the heat and backed it up with a stylish frontside air reverse at the halfway mark to leave his opponents trailing.
“Every year I look forward to coming here and I’d love to win this event someday,” John John Florence said. “That Bell, the trophy, is insane. It’s probably one of the best trophies on tour. It’s an amazing wave too, unpredictable and powerful.”
Other winners today include South Africa’s Jordy Smith (ZAF) and American Brett Simpson (USA) who both earned their place in Round 3.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.33, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.73, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.63
Heat 2: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.33, Kai Otton (AUS) 6.00
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.67, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.06, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 7.73
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 15.33, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.47, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.17
Heat 5: Mason Ho (HAW) 13.13, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.10, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 13.00
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.76, Matt Banting (AUS) 11.83, Joe Van Dijk (AUS) 8.23
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.44, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.20
Upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF), Nat Young (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)