Jordy Smith (ZAF) has won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach after electric performances in pumping six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) conditions at the iconic venue in the Australian State of Victoria. Smith bested fellow Finalist Caio Ibelli (BRA) in a classic Bells Beach showdown to close out the Australian leg.
The third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, is the longest-running professional surf event in the world. This year’s 56th iteration saw a competitive field of elite surfers throw down their best performances with Smith earning the right to ‘ring the Bell’ for the first time in his career.
Smith secured his sixth Championship Tour win today following a series of heated match-ups against Ibelli, 2017 CT Rookie Ezekiel Lau (HAW) and 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA). The win marks Smith’s best result here at Bells, following his runner-up finish in 2016, and moves him up to World No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I can’t even believe it — second last year and now this — it’s amazing,” Smith said.
“I was stoked to have made it into Round 4 and then every heat after that was a bonus. I tried to take it easy and not take things too seriously, as you may have been able to tell from some of my claims in the Final. This is an absolute dream come true. I’ve been working on winning this event for 10 years now and to get it today is incredible.”
An intense Final witnessed Smith and Ibelli blast huge scores as they put all on the line to win. Smith charged with two 9-point rides for the lead. Ibelli answered back with a near-perfect 9.63 (out of a possible 10), needing a 9.25 with ten minutes left on the clock. Smith continued to heat things up with a 9.13, raising the requirement to a 9.28. With a 17.46 two-wave score, Ibelli was not able to defeat the South African’s commanding 18.90.
Ibell’s runner-up finish is his career-best result on the elite CT. The 2016 Rookie of the Year showcased a new level to his surfing with powerful, high-risk maneuvers to take out a tough field of challengers in final series. In his first time competing at Bells last season, Ibelli eliminated John John Florence (HAW) in Round 3. In a Semifinal rematch, Ibelli took out Florence once again to earn his first Finals appearance. The young Brazilian will now launch from 19th to 7th on the rankings.
“This trophy is going to look really nice in my house,” Ibelli said, “This has been the best Easter I have ever had. I’m so stoked. The waves and the support at Bells is so amazing. It’s really special. To be in the Final with Jordy Smith, someone I’ve always looked up to, at a perfect wave like Bells is a dream come true for me.”
Meanwhile, Courtney Conlogue (USA) has won the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach after defeating Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in four-to-six foot (1 – 2 metre) conditions at the world-renowned Bells Beach in the Australian state of Victoria.
The third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, witnessed Conlogue ring the coveted Bell for the second time after her dominance throughout the final series today. The Californian unleashed her aggressive power-surfing to take down a stacked field of competitors, including six-time WSL Champion Gilmore, reigning WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).
“Winning it last year felt so good, but to back it up is amazing,” said Conlogue.
“I’m so speechless. The first two events of the Australian leg did not go that well for me, so I’m stoked to finish it off with a win. I have always loved coming to Bells. It’s an amazing arena with all of the fans down here. It’s a really tricky wave to master, so to have two wins here is really special.”
Conlogue came into the start of the 2017 season as World No. 2, but a 9th place finish at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and 5th place result at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro set her back to World No. 9. The Californian’s win today moves her up to fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard to now put her World Title campaign back on track.
“Coming up against Stephanie [Gilmore] in the Final was incredible,” continued Conlogue. “She is such an amazing surfer and tough competitor. Maintaining composure at the end was key. I had a lot of last-minute wins this contest and that’s why it’s true that you should never give up because it’s not over until it is over.”
The Final saw an exciting battle between Gilmore and Conlogue. Gilmore got the edge on the opening exchange with an excellent 8.33 (out of a possible 10) to Conlogue’s 8.00. The women continued to charge, again posting excellent-range scores with Gilmore leading Conlogue’s 15.27 combined score by only 1.06 points. In the last 5 minutes of the heat, Conlogue took off on the biggest set wave of the Final and displayed her trademark power hacks and jams in the pocket to post an excellent 9.00-point ride for the lead. With only seconds left, Gilmore attempted to scratch into a medium-sized set but was unable to make it, leaving Conlogue to win her second consecutive Bell with a heat total of 17.00.
“This was an incredible event,” said Gilmore. “We’ve had some awesome waves over these past few days and it was a special Easter weekend to have everyone down here. To surf in front of this crowd is a really special experience. I always try my best, but it is a tough field to beat so I am happy to come away with a second and still hold onto that lead. I will hopefully hold onto it for as long as I can.”
The next stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour is the Oi Rio Pro in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from May 9 – 20, 2017.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.90
2 – Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.46
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach):
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 23,000 pts
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 19,200 pts
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 19,200 pts
4 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14,400 pts
5 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 13,750 pts
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.00
2 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.33
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 18.33 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.00
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.66 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 9.73
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.56 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.33
QF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.26 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.60
QF 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.86 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.60
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.60 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.80
2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 24,500 pts
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 21,700 pts
3 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 19,700
4 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 18,500
5 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 16,250