Wednesday, April 19 AEST
5:35 p.m. AEST
After more than a decade of trying, South Africa's Jordy Smith is finally ringing the bell at the Rip Curl Pro. The big man wasn't messing around in the Final. He unloaded with his textbook carves, giant floaters, and ruthless snaps while racking up a total of 18.90 points. He would need most of them, too, because Caio Ibelli made a very valiant late push in the back half of the last heat. Ibelli netted 17.46. For Smith, the win lifts him to right back into the No. 2 spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, right behind John John Florence.
4:58 p.m. AEST
The 56th edition of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final has hit the water for a 40-minute heat. It's On!
4:46 p.m. AEST
In another buzzer beater, Jordy Smith used last-second priority to finish off a heartbroken Zeke Lau in Semi No. 2. Smith is looking to become the first South African to ring the bell.
4:33 p.m. AEST
Here's a stat you probably would never have guessed: Caio Ibelli now owns a 3-1 head-to-head record over John John Florence. Surprise. Here's another unusual factoid: He might owe his Semifinal heat win to legendary Australian shaper Maurice Cole, who spent the afternoon before Finals day coaching Ibelli on the nuances of the Bells lineup. Apparently, Ibelli gifted a set wave at Trestles to Cole last May and the board builder returned the favor with an impromptu tutorial. "It's been a dream of mine to win at Bells," said an ecstatic Ibelli after his last second win over the World Champ, "that last wave, I was just trying to go big, I thought it was enough, and it was!"
3:41 p.m. AEST
I'm so proud. At 24 years old he's just gaining maturity by the minute. -- Ross Williams on John John Florence
3:17 p.m. AEST
Somewhere in Southern California, 3x Bells Champ and Makaha legend Sunny Garcia is smiling. The future of Hawaiian power-surfing, Ezekiel Lau, just beat Brazilian bantamweight Filipe Toledo for the second time in less than three hours at the Bells Bowl. Ghosts of Garcia's legacy live on in Lau -- the sturdy stance, the upright style, the layback snap. The kid's got Sunny's quiet confidence, too. "I just took a deep breath knowing it was going to be my last chance," said Lau, recounting his last-minute 9.77, his final ride to seal the heat. "I'm just building confidence with each heat, sticking to my game plan."
2:44 p.m. AEST
2:27 p.m. AEST
It's a rematch from a controversial Round Four heat. Filipe Toledo and Zeke Lau go at it in Quarterfinal No. 3.
2:09 p.m. AEST
Winning the CT's Rookie of the Year award comes with its own set of expectations. And through the first two events of the Australian leg, Caio Ibelli has struggled to find the form that won him that honor in 2016. But at Bells, Ibelli has returned to form and has his boards dialed in.
"After last year, I just knew what kind of equipment to ride out here now," he said. (Last year, Ibelli finished here in ninth place.) "I was just waiting for the right time to ride it, it's a 6'1" Arakawa and it feels really good."
That Arakawa is serving him well: The young Brazilian made it into the Semifinals for the first time in his burgeoning pro career. "I'm trying not to get too emotional, take it heat by heat and save my energy." He'll face the winner of the John John Florence vs. Mick Fanning Quarterfinal in Semi No. 1.
1:46 p.m. AEST
1:11 p.m. AEST
The WSL's Band of Brazilian Brothers call him "Captain." Former Bells' bell-ringer and 2015 World Champ Adriano de Souza takes on the final goofyfooter left in the draw, Wiggolly Dantas, in Heat 4, Round Five.
1:08 p.m. AEST
UPDATE: We're surfing into the Quarterfinals today, at least:
1:01 p.m. AEST
Put away your biases and preconceived notions about Bells and its power (or lack thereof, for some). Heat 3 of Round Five was a battle of attrition. Heat winner Filipe Toledo merely cut back under the lip on an overhead and foamy wave across the 'Bowl and suffered a blow to both his board (between the fins) and his calf muscle (hole in the wetsuit, too). Heat runner-up Joel Parkinson snapped his board clean in half on a simple crack off the top in the end section. Despite what you may think, this wave is not your local beach break -- Bondi, Kuta, Huntington or otherwise. The Southern Ocean packs a healthy punch, believe it. Regardless of having to swap out his busted equipment mid-heat, Toledo maintained his focus, surfed loose, fast and smart, and took down an event favorite and 3x event Champ in the form of Parko.
12:32 p.m. AEST
If Owen Wright was going to lose at Bells, he couldn't have lost to a better -- or more competitive -- fellow Australian. But of course, only one could win their drag-out battle, which included three nine-point rides and one eight-pointer, and today it was Mick's turn.
12:11 p.m. AEST
If it wasn't around 3 a.m. in Portugal right now, the country would be erupting in celebration for rookie Frederico Morais, who just won his Round Five heat and will head to the Quarters. The first Portuguese CT surfer since Tiago Pires, Kikas, as he's known at home, is quickly becoming a force with which to be reckoned.
12:00 p.m. AEST
The Top 34 aren't the only ones enjoying pumping conditions today. Brand-new Bells Women's Rip Curl Pro winner Courtney Conlogue got a little taste of the goods, too.
11:27 a.m. AEST
UPDATE: "After careful review, an audio synch issue was identified and WSL officials determined that Ezekiel Lau did not interfere with Filipe Toledo." Zeke Lau officially wins Round Four, Heat 3. Commissioner Perrow explains here:
10:42 a.m. AEST
In one of the strangest endings to a competitive surfing heat you'll ever witness, Filipe Toledo finished second best to Zeke Lau, yet walked away a heat winner. With the final five seconds of Heat 3 counting down, Toledo stood up on an inside wave. Using his priority, Lau popped to his feet just after the final hooter, which re-set priority and he was flagged with an interference. Yet, on the broadcast feed, Lau appeared to stand up prior to the hooter which would not have resulted in an interference. Head Judge Richie Porta explained that the live feed was actually different than what the judging panel had seen in real time. Nevertheless, confused faces abounded and Lau was visibly upset. Former CT surfer and Oakley Team Manager, Tom Whitaker, quickly offered Lau some sage advice in the moment, reminding him he was not out of the event, and needed to move on quickly and prepare for his Round Five heat.
10:18 a.m. AEST
It's not all game faces and claims this morning. Even 3x World Champs get fired up at Bells.
9:51 a.m. AEST
Seriously, John? If you missed the second heat of the morning, just stop what you're doing and watch it now with the men's Heat Analyzer.
To catch you up: Mick Fanning was the man to beat for the first 28 minutes of the three-man battle, which pitted him, John John Florence and Sebastian Zietz against each other. At first, Mick simply slayed: A 9.93, then an 8.93, and John was comboed (needing two new scores to catch up), as Seabass tried to find his rhythm. But then John scored a massive 9.57, and needed one more huge score to take the lead.
It was time to call in the big guns. Or rather, the big airs. And the big guts, because, with less than two minutes left, Florence went for it. He threw a massive alley-oop for a 9.97 -- and won. Fanning and Seabass will go on to Round Five.
9:20 a.m. AEST
Once the fog lifted, the fires began to burn. In the first heat of the day, rookie Frederico Morais -- known as "Kikas" to his fans at home in Portugal -- led for most of Round One, Heat 1. With powerful turns and big carves, it seemed like he might have had the heat in the bag. That is, until Caio Ibelli tore into a solid one for an 8.43. That was enough to turn the tide, and he surfed away with the win. Ibelli gets to jump to the Quarterfinals, while Kikas and Owen Wright -- who perhaps needed a little more coffee this morning -- will get another shot to advance in Round Five.
8:52 a.m. AEST
WSW swell is slowly filling in at Bells, latest buoy report: 4ft @ 16secs
Low Tide 10:45 a.m. (0.9ft), High Tide 5:17 p.m. (4.7ft)
Wind should be light and variable all day
Jet Ski assist is in play
35 minute heats
8:36 a.m. AEST
During this morning's warm-up surf, rookie Frederico Morais was struck by his board just above his right eye. His coach, Dog Marsh, gives Barton Lynch a quick update on his injury here:
8:34 a.m. AEST
UPDATE: Event is On! Men's Round Four, Heat 1 hits the water at 8:40 a.m. AEST
7:43 a.m AEST
UPDATE: We're currently in a Fog Delay until 8:30 a.m. AEST. Event is on Standby until further notice. Victorian weather is unpredictable! Competitors were unable to see the priority signs from the lineup. We'll update here when more details are provided.
6:53 a.m. AEST
UPDATE: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is ON! Men's Round Four begins at 7:30 a.m. AEST with Heat 1: Frederico Morais v Caio Ibelli v Owen Wright.
5:00 a.m. AEST
Reigning World Champion John John Florence is hoping to ring the Bells' trophy for the first time at this year's Rip Curl Pro, and extend his lead on the Jeep Leaderboard in the process. However, with a dozen surfers left in the competition, he's surrounded by high-caliber threats, and every one of them has a target on Florence's back.
6:30 a.m. AEST
When competition resumes we'll be jumping into the superheats of Round Four, where the winners earn a trip directly to the Quarterfinals. The next call is at 8:30 a.m. AEST.
Heat 1: Frederico Morais, Caio Ibelli, Owen Wright.
Heat 2: Mick Fanning, Sebastian Zietz, John John Florence
Heat 3: Ezekiel Lau, Filipe Toledo, Adriano de Souza
Heat 4: Wiggolly Dantas, Joel Parkinson, Jordy Smith
Monday, April 17 AEST
3:00 p.m. AEST
Congratulations Courtney Conlogue for completing such an incredible trek to the top of the Rip Curl Pro podium Monday. By making one inspirational comeback after another throughout this entire event you've inspired thousands to never give up fighting. May your ears be ringing loudly tonight.
2:17 p.m. AEST
Courtney Conlogue should really consider being a motivational speaker. She could use highlights from all of her heats today for compelling visual aid. The Californian's remarkable road to victory was filled with one comeback after another. In every heat she surfed Monday (and Sunday) Conlogue had to come from behind to win. The thought of giving in never even crossed her mind. That theme continued in the Final, where Gilmore jumped out to an early lead and was holding it midway through. But Conlogue stayed composed, showing once again what grit looks like. She battled back with some big scores and a huge win.
1:04 p.m. AEST
Stephanie Gilmore is headed for her second Final of the young season, which marks quite the turnaround for the 6x World Champion in 2017. Let's not forget Steph was winless in 2016, and made only one Final at Trestles. She's now assured to be wearing the Jeep Leader's Jersey in Brazil, regardless what happens in the Final match with defending champion Courtney Conlogue.
12:19 p.m. AEST
Proving once again what a fighter she is Courtney Conlogue battled back in a big way during her Semifinal heat against Tyler Wright. With under 10 minutes to go in the heat Conlogue hadn't ridden a wave, and was down by 14 points. Making matters worse, she'd surrendered priority by paddling for a wave and missing it. But she finally got an opportunity, and ripped the snot out of a glassy righthander with about 9:45 on the clock. The damage she did earned her a huge 9.00. In the closing minutes of the heat she followed with a 9.33, giving her another comeback win and a trip to her second-straight Final at Bells Beach.
I was just trying to dig as deep as I could right there. - Courtney Conlogue on her massive Semifinal comeback
11:54 a.m. AEST
Stephanie Gilmore bagged a second 9-point ride in her Quarterfinal heat against Johanne Defay, and just took sole possession of the Jeep Leader's Jersey with her win. Semifinal No. 2 will now be a rematch of the Finals of the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast, with Steph up against Peterson.
11:27 a.m. AEST
After suffering an early Round Two exit at Margaret River the big question for California's Lakey Peterson was whether she'd be able to bounce back. She dropped from the No. 2 spot on the Jeep Leaderboard all the way to No. 7 as a result, nearly 10,000 points behind Jeep Leaders Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore. Of course, Lakey knows the best way to catch the frontrunners is to beat them, and while her Quarterfinal match with Sally went all the way to the wire, and could have arguably gone either way, Lakey got the judges' nod. She may get a crack at Stephanie Gilmore next, too, as Steph just opened her Quarterfinal against with Johanne Defay with a 9.43.
11:00 a.m. AEST
Semifinal No. 1 of the women will be a rematch between defending champion Courtney Conlogue and World Champion Tyler Wright. The two met in the Quarterfinal of last year's Rip Curl Pro in the midst of a great battle for the World Title. This year, however, they both find themselves playing catch up to current Jeep Leaders Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
10:30 a.m. AEST
The women's Quarterfinals got underway with a massive match between Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue, two of Bells' best. Moore is a 3x winner, and statistically she's the top performer on the women's side. Conlogue, meanwhile, is a very enthusiastic defending champion - almost too enthusiastic. Conlogue fell midway through her opening ride, which was a solid opportunity, and Carissa took advantage. But Courtney clawed her way back, literally, via a paddle paddle that gave her a crucial priority.
In the aftermath, Conlogue fought her way back with a high 8 and a high 7. Then Carissa inexplicably missed her final opportunity, paddling for a wave and missing it. It was a huge win for Conlogue, who has plenty of work left to do to get back in the world title race.
10:04 a.m. AEST
Jordy Smith looks lethal at the moment. The big South African just topped 18 points for the second-straight time at Bells. Today's victim was French rookie Joan Duru. Smith sits No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard, tied with Adriano de Souza, but with Kolohe Andino already out of the Rip Curl Pro he's got a good chance of climbing. And of the likely candidates who can catch Florence, he's without question a favorite. Smith will now join Joel Parkinson and Wiggolly Dantas in what should be a very inspiring Round Four match.
9:23 a.m. AEST
He's a 3x Bells Champ and holds the Highest Heat Winning percentage (78.46%) and Average Heat Score (15.55) at Bells, that's tops among all the surfers currently on Tour. With silky smooth steez, Joel Parkinson just improved upon on that stat, putting rookie Connor O'Leary into ComboLand within the first 15 minutes of their Round Three clash. Parko turned the screws on the rookie, clamping down the heat with ruthless efficiency and veteran savvy.
9:07 a.m. AEST
Wiggolly Dantas broke his Round Three voodoo over defending Bells Champ Matt Wilkinson, once again chucking buckets of spray cascading down into the lineup with his backhand snaps. It's Dantas' first foray beyond Round Two during the entire 2017 Australian leg. Although clean and glassy, conditions at the Bells Bowl have a bit of high tide wonk, there's bobbles and warbles to contend with this morning. Wiggy dealt with it, Wilko didn't.
8:26 a.m. AEST
2015 WSL World Champ Adriano de Souza overcame a hard charging Jeremy Flores (who buckled his board late in the heat) to take down Heat 9.
8:15 a.m. AEST
8:01 a.m. AEST
Filipe Toledo came out like a buzz saw in Heat 1, capping off the day's opening ride -- a 9.77 -- with a lofty "full rotation" (aka FS 540) in less than ideal offshore "air wind" (try that at home kids, see how it goes). "It was a mid-sized wave and I eyed the section and hit it," said Toledo, brimming with confidence after the heat win. "I usually don't like the first heat of the day, but I surfed for like five hours yesterday on my birthday, and it's only my second session on this new board. I can't wait for the next round."
7:14 a.m. AEST
We will have a Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach Champion ringing the bell today!
7:00 a.m. AEST
Update: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is ON! Men's Round Three, Heat 8 kicks things off: Filipe Toledo vs. Ace Buchan
Toledo's Average Heat Score (AHS) at the Rip Curl Pro is fourth best on Tour at 15.11, and the Brazilian has a top ten Heat Winning Percentage (HWP) at 57.14%. Despite a lethal backhand, Buchan's never advanced into the Quarterfinal round at Bells.
6:00 p.m. AEST
There's nothing quite like a bunch of Easter Sunday battles at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. And when heats move over to Winkipop it just gets more interesting. With the men's competition moving into the brutal early-elimination rounds, it was quite a bloody Sunday for several heavy hitters, including Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater. Our crack WSL commentator team breaks down the entire day of action in their Post Show Report.
5:29 p.m. AEST
Ezekiel Lau is finding his comfort zone. After eliminating Conner Coffin with an incredible Round Two performance the Hawaiian rookie found himself up against World No. 4 Kolohe Andino in Round Three. Of course, Kolohe is no stranger to Zeke. The two have been battling since their pre-teen days in the amateur ranks. Perhaps that's why Lau seems to be feeling like he's in the place he belongs. It wasn't a high scoring affair, but it was a close one, with Lau's power surfing granting him a path to Round Four.
4:44 p.m. AEST
John John Florence faced a very dangerous Nat Young in Round Three. The Santa Cruz surfer has been one of the Rip Curl Pro's biggest giant killers in year's past. Fortunately for Florence, he was able to open strong. And while he hasn't been putting up the huge numbers we saw in Margaret River here in Torquay, Florence did open his account with an 8.17. When it was over that would be enough to see the Jeep Leader through to Round Four, as Young struggled to respond.
4:24 p.m. AEST
It should've been the heat of the day. The stars had aligned and it is quite uncommon to see 11x World Champion Kelly Slater and 3x World Champion Mick Fanning facing off in Round Three. Really, however, the numbers and statistics were far more fierce than the actual fight, for it was a slow-moving heat. By the second half, while Slater remained (perhaps too) picky for that special set wave, Fanning started to heat up a touch, open up his shoulders on some wraps and drawing a few lines like the calligraphy teacher he's always been. It was enough to give Mr. Fanning heat win No. 67 at Bells, making him 10-9 against Slater. Given the rough year he's had, he's happy to take it.
3:43 p.m. AEST
3:26 p.m. AEST
For years Kelly Slater was the Tour's master mental manipulator. Age and time has mellowed Slater, he's more like a Jedi Master now. Gabriel Medina has become the young Skywalker, keen to engage in combat to establish priority through psychological, or physical, means. But the problem with priority hassling is simple: sometimes it can backfire. Frederico Morais, and his coach Dog Marsh, decided to take the offensive and engage Medina. Marsh's advice was pretty straightforward -- commit to it and don't flinch. And it worked. "Gabby likes to start on the inside, but I like to start on the inside, too," said the big man from Cascais. "There was a lot of hassling at the beginning of the heat, but I'm glad I got him."
2:47 p.m. AEST
Update: Men's Round Three hits the water at Winkipop.
With all of the top 12 seeds still alive in the event, can the men in the red jerseys continue their dominance? World No. 8 Gabriel Medina takes on rookie Frederico Morais in Heat 1.
2:32 p.m. AEST
When you get a nickname like Wiggy Buckets, it's not an accident. But like watching a car accident, witnessing the lead-footed Brazilian goofyfoot Wiggolly Dantas unleash on the Winki walls it was impossible to look away. Dantas sent the guts of unsuspecting waves imploding out the back, 15-foot high plumes of spray cascading down like saltwater showers. He's like a human fire hose. His 9.33 was the third highest single wave score of the day, enough to separate from a stunned Kanoa Igarashi and advance on to Round Three.
1:45 p.m. AEST
Like a riverboat gambler, Bede Durbidge used a pair of high 8's to dispatch an unlucky Stu Kennedy, who was sitting on unsuited deuces. In a strange affair, Kennedy snapped his Firewire between his legs on an innocuous-looking connection with a Winki lip. While Kennedy chased down his caddie for a fresh board, Durbidge doubled down on his back-up wave, pushing a medium-sized wave nearly into the 9-point range. For his efforts, the big bloke from Stradbroke posted his highest total heat score of 2017 -- 17.60 -- and moves on to Round Three.
1:03 p.m. AEST
Well, that was fun. Frederico Morais and Miguel Pupo just threw down 9-plus rides in their Round Two, Heat 9 clash:
12:31 p.m. AEST
Unfortunately for Tour rookie Ethan Ewing, his poor seeding put him into the heat draw against a seething Mick Fanning. Fanning doesn't like surfing in Round Two, especially at Bells (or in this case, Winkipop). The man's a 6x Finalist and 4x Champ at the Rip Curl Pro. He doesn't do Round Two. Surfing against Fanning at Bells is almost unfair. It's like playing an away game against his beloved National Rugby League club, the Penrith Panthers. Heck, it is a home game for his longtime sponsor, Rip Curl, which is based in Torquay. He loves the place. He's already made it public that he'll retire in the region after his career ends. Not that Fanning needs an advantage, but he had a leg up on Ewing before they even hit the water.
11:58 a.m. AEST
Mick Fanning gets lit at Winki:
11:00 a.m. AEST
Update: We're on Standby for 30mins as the event moves down to Winkipop for the final heats of Men's Round Two (and possibly the Rip Curl Women's Pro Quarterfinals).
When we come back, it's a Sophie's Choice heat for the Aussies:
Round Two, Heat 8
Mick Fanning v Ethan Ewing
10:36 a.m. AEST
The rookies' roll continues. When you're blessed with a backhand blitz the level of Joan Duru, it was only a matter of time before the Frenchman broke through. All things considered, Bells Bowl might have been the perfect place for Duru to freely express himself -- well overhead, slightly textured runners begging to be banked and bashed. It's the third heat win in a row for Team Rookie, Class of '17.
10:29 a.m. AEST
Brazilian Storm Watch...
Caio Ibelli v Ian Gouveia
10:03 a.m. AEST
Meet 28-year old French rookie, Joan Duru, in this video profile:
10:00 a.m. AEST
The Round Two, Heat 6 showdown between Josh Kerr and Joan Duru has hit the water:
9:55 a.m. AEST
For the second consecutive heat, a 2017 CT rookie came out on top of their Round Two heat. Cronulla local Connor O'Leary takes the win in a goofyfoot battle over Brazilian vet Jadson Andre.
9:37 a.m. AEST
In a power-laced battle of a counter-punching middleweight and haymaker throwing heavyweight, Hawaiian rookie Zeke Lau beat Conner Coffin in a TKO. Featuring a ridiculously high average wave score of 8.70, Lau and Coffin traded blows like a couple of Golden Glove title contenders. "I told myself to just feel it, be in rhythm," said Lau, "I just relaxed and didn't worry too much about what he was doing. It's a good win to build my confidence, I knew what Conner was capable of, so I pretty much had to surf a perfect heat."
9:16 a.m. AEST
Following a heat separated by the smallest of margins (.09 points), CT rookie Leonardo Fioravanti wandered into "coaches corner," a bend in the Bells staircase frequented by team managers and CT coaches, slightly baffled by his stinging loss to Sebby Zietz just moments earlier. It was another disappointing 25th for the Italian, his third of the three-stage Australian leg. But his coach, Quiksilver's Jake Paterson, saw positive signs from the loss. He told the WSL's Strider Wasilewski that "he'd built some positive momentum and was shaking off the rookie jitters." Leo surfed well enough to win, yet still lost. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but an opportunity to learn and grow.
8:47 a.m. AEST
"You forget how good a wave Bells is when it's offshore and four foot," said Joel Parkinson after surfing a masterclass heat, schooling 16-year old Rip Curl Pro Trials winner Sammy Pupo (brother of CT surfer, Miguel). "That nervous energy bubbles through you here when you see a set approach, I guess the only other place that feels that way is J-Bay, you start frothing!" added Parko, still buzzing like a grommet after his win. The 3x bell ringer moves on to Round Three.
8:11 a.m. AEST
WSL Championship Tour rookie Leonardo Fioravanti faces off against Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz in Heat 3. The Roman's looking to advance out of Round Two for the first time this season.
8:06 a.m. AEST
The Bells Bowl is shining in the spotlight this morning, the waves are firing!
7:49 a.m. AEST
Jordy Smith smashed any upset dreams of 44-year old Bells Trials wildcard Glyndyn Ringrose within the first ten minutes of their Round Two heat. Looking loose and tack sharp on a trusty board, Smith threw away a high 6 and high 7 on his way to an 18.40, one of the highest total heat scores of the event so far. Smith's carried his form and momentum from Margaret River over to Bells, and he's one of the few surfers whose form is matching the next-level antics of John Florence.
7:36 a.m. AEST
UPDATE: Commissioner Kieren Perrow breaks down the day:
7:29 a.m. AEST
7:15 a.m. AEST
Round Two, Heat 1 is in the water - 30min heats - No jet ski assist:
No. 4 Jordy Smith (ZAF) v Wildcard Glyndyn Ringrose (AUS)
6:45 a.m. AEST
The Rip Curl Men's Pro Bells Beach will start with Round Two action. Watch this space for live updates as the action unfolds.
9:14 p.m. AEST
Here's a quick glimpse of Saturday's stellar action from Bells Beach and Winkipop. We're now set for Round 2 of men's and the Quarterfinals of women's. Stay tuned for Easter Sunday updates from the Rip Curl Pro, where the next call is set for 6:45 a.m. AEST.
8:00 p.m. AEST
If you haven't caught it yet, Sean Doherty's recap of Saturday's competition is a must read. With his usual blend of wit and wisdom the Australian author tackles all of Saturday's hot topics, including the hair in Kelly Slater's coffee, the chink in John John's armor, and the painful Sophie's Choice scenario brewing with Mick Fanning and Ethan Ewing facing off in Round Two.
5:48 p.m. AEST
In a near upsetter of a final heat in Round Four, Silvana Lima had 6x World Champion Steph Gilmore up against the ropes their entire matchup. Surfing nimbly, light-footed and utilizing priority like a boss, Lima almost had the Champ beat until the last minute. While Gilmore's wave selection was potentially her biggest foe, she smartened up, earned an 8.4 for two searing maneuvers, then found her final score (a mere 4.77), defeating Lima. But only just barely. She'll need to start more quickly in the Quarters if she expects to move on.
5:13 p.m. AEST
Despite surfing with stitches in her booty-covered left foot, Jeep yellow jersey ratings co-Leader Sally Fitzgibbons overcame a keen Tatiana Weston-Webb in a fiesty Round Four tussle. In a wave-deprived heat, both surfers were able to ride only the bare minimum of two waves, further tightening the margin of victory for the spunky Aussie. Fitzgibbons moves on to the Quarterfinals, where she'll face Santa Barbara, California's Lakey Peterson when competition resumes.
4:39 p.m. AEST
In a relentless battle between two formed-out natural footers in Heat 2, seesaw sisters (‘cause of the ups and downs) Sage Erickson and Coco Ho traded the lead numerous times in one of the most well surfed heats of the day. Each with a gorgeous approach to their forehand arcs in the silky Winkipop bowls, the nimble and cat-like Coco Ho got the mere 0.31-point better of Erickson. Erickson actually had the lead until Ho's very last wave where she bolstered her backup score for the win. Quite the scrap, though!
4:17 p.m. AEST
The opening 15 minutes of Heat 1 of Round Four played out like a Mexican standoff. Reigning Bells Champ Courtney Conlogue and Nikki Van Dijk were locked in a classic battle of wills, neither surfer willing to give up inside position at Winki's peak. Then, despite the inconsistent conditions, Conlogue blinked, letting Van Dijk open the heat with her first ride. But then the Californian found the eye of the tiger, a look of sheer determination and competitive grit that belies the cheerful beachside demeanor of the WSL's Runner Up in 2016. In a see-saw battle, Conlogue closed the heat with a pair of 8-point rides, ending Van Dijk's run at Bells, while extending her own.
3:45 p.m. AEST
Rip Curl Women's Pro IT'S ON at Winkipop Round Four, Heat 1 has hit the water:
3:25 p.m. AEST
And last, but definitely not least, Filipe Toledo:
3:22 p.m. AEST
The cagey Kelly Slater we all know and love returned at Winkipop:
3:17 p.m. AEST
Next up for your consideration, our current World Champion:
3:14 p.m. AEST
As we wind down Round One of the Rip Curl Men's Pro, here's a look back at some of the outstanding performances from a busy day at both Bells and Winkipop. First up, Kolohe Andino:
2:31 p.m. AEST
Continuing the day's theme of goofyfooted domination, Ace Buchan's 12 o'clock backhand slapped Joel Parkinson's career-long Round One Bells-run away from the 2012 World Champion. As in, Parko's never lost a Round One at Bells (ever), until today. And maybe he still hasn't, as Ace nabbed that win at Winkipop (wink, wink).
2:03 p.m. AEST
Pushed to the brink by rookie upstart Ethan Ewing, world No. 17 Michel Bourez summoned all the experience of nearly a decade on Tour to squash the young buck's dreams of winning his first CT heat. Ewing will have to wait until Round Two to overcome that hurdle, unfortunately, as the early stages of his fledgling career have been more challenging than many pundits expected. The kid's got the talent and style, if he can dial back his full-throttle approach to start heats, he'll see success in the short term.
1:19 p.m. AEST
There's always something fun about skipping. Stones, school, or in 11x World Champion Kelly Slater's case, Round Two with his win over Josh Kerr and Ian Gouveia in Heat 8. With four wins at Bells to his legendary name, Slater's not only looking for a fifth win out here, he's building his campaign for that elusive 12th world title. Bringing his textbook Kelly wrap back to the heats, and selling dummies to the guys with priority (Hello, mind games!), Slater's looking like he's back to his old (but timeless) antics.
12:39 p.m. AEST
With a pair of sturdy 8's and rock-solid rail-surfing, 2015 World Champion and winner of Heat 7, Adriano de Souza, shows us why he rang the Bell in 2013. Although CT rookie Joan Duru put up a good fight with his deadly backhand and last year's Rookie of the Year, Caio Ibelli, looked quick as a cricket, De Souza appears as sharp and hungry as he did as event winner four years ago. Remember when Adriano literally rang the rope off the Bell when he won? Perhaps he'll be gentler this year if he wins… or not.
12:00 p.m. AEST
While Florence opened strong in his Round One heat at Winkipop with a nice 8.5, veteran battler Jeremy Flores responded by taking John the distance. With just over one minute to go Flores grabbed the lead. But the moment that score was being announced Florence was taking off on his cleanest opportunity of the match, and he went to work on it. He earned this 9.03 for the effort, giving him a total of 17.20 points for the win.
11:24 a.m. AEST
Former CT surfer and current WSL Water Patrol, Glyndyn Ringrose, won the Bells Trials and what does he get? World Champ John John Florence (and Jeremy Flores) in his first heat.
10:38 a.m. AEST
Kolohe Andino seems to be keeping the screws tight this season. After a disappointing Round Five loss on the Gold Coast he did well to put it behind him quickly - something he admits he's struggled with in the past. At Stop No. 2 in Margaret River Andino came firing back with a Finals appearance, and now he's off to a good looking start at Bells. Andino earned a solid 5-point win over Jack Freestone and wildcard Samuel Pupo, racking up a total of 17.17 points.
10:01 a.m. AEST
Event wildcard Nat Young just won Heat 4 over Jordy Smith and Kanoa Igarashi. It's a small slice of revenge for the man from Santa Cruz against two surfers who had huge implications in Young falling off the CT in 2016. Click here for more.
9:51 a.m. AEST
Update from commissioner Perrow:
Following the end of Heat 5, the contest will go ON HOLD until 11:00 a.m. AEST. Watch this space for updates.
9:21 a.m. AEST
Event and Tour favorite Gabriel Medina survived Heat 3, a battle of what appeared to be the walking wounded. Medina, still nursing a wobbly knee injured at the Quik Pro, used impeccable pace and timing to take out Stu Kennedy (nagging rib and cartilage damage from a slam on the North Shore in '16) and rookie Leo Fioravanti (sprained and strapped ankle). Even surfing at what appears to be less than full volume, Medina consistently finds places to spank the coping across the Bells Bowl while others bog through the flats.
9:04 a.m. AEST
Round One, Heat 4 hits the Bells Bowl:
8:51 a.m. AEST
Despite Miguel Pupo throwing down a score well into the excellent range early in their heat, Owen Wright never lost his composure. The lanky screw foot rarely loses his cool, it's elemental to his game. Once again, Wright stuck to his guns, locked down a good ride mid-way through the heat, then waited to clamp down the heat. Then, cool as you like, Wright killed off the heat with under two minutes remaining. "That's how I won that heat," Wright said, alluding to his opponents falling on their back up rides. "I stayed on my board, it's like that out there." No stress, no mess, he's on to Round Three.
8:26 a.m. AEST
Current Heat 2 leader, Miguel Pupo's little brother, Samuel, won the Bells Trials a few days ago. He'll surf in Heat 5 against Kolohe Andino and Jack Freestone.
8:08 a.m. AEST
Round One, Heat 2 is now in the water:
7:57 a.m. AEST
Matty Wilko found his rhythm in Round One, Heat 1. Perhaps more so than any other surfer on Tour, Matt Wilkinson relies on tempo and flow to get big scores. After sitting, waiting and watching Mick Fanning and Jadson Andre book above averages scores to open their accounts, the 2016 bell ringer tagged a line-up wall across the Bells Bowl, including a beyond 12 o' clock foam climb. Wilko's funky groove was enough to separate himself from Fanning and Andre in a tight heat. He skips onto Round Three.
6:45 a.m. AEST
After a couple of lay days, the Rip Curl Men's Pro Bells Beach begins today with Round One action. Watch this space for live updates as the action progresses.
No jet ski assist to start things off this morning. If the swell fills in and begins to pump, they'll re-evaluate adding jet skis.
Heat 1 kicks things off with an intriguing matchup at 7:15 a.m. AEST: Matt Wilkinson v. Mick Fanning v. Jadson Andre
The lay-day fun continues in Torquay, where hopes are high for a restart of the Rip Curl Pro on Saturday. The next call is April 15, at 7:00 a.m. AEST. Naturally, the smaller surf didn't keep anyone out of the water today, and if the old saying is true, that the best surfer is the one having the most fun, then today's award probably goes to Stephanie Gilmore, who was ripping on her twin-fin.
So the waves may be small-scale today, but we know what's possible for those who wait...
Alas, the waves have not returned yet. Stay tuned for more on today's call, the forecast and lay day shenanigans. The next call is Saturday at 6:45 a.m. AEST.
6:20 a.m. AEST
Nikki and Jack weren't the only ones who got their lay day freesurfs in. John John Florence took advantage of magic-hour light to hack up some unsuspecting rights.
4:38 a.m. AEST
Another lay day yesterday meant air time for some, and R&R for others (actually, just for Sally Fitzgibbons, who gouged her foot Wednesday. Sending get well soon vibes).
Thursday, April 13 AEST
6:40 a.m. AEST
Despite the opening day fireworks, competition has been called off for Day 2 of the waiting period at Bells. The next call is at 6:45 a.m. Friday AEST.
6:25 a.m. AEST
In case you need to warm up for another big day of surfing, here's a taste of what Mick Fanning, Julian Wilson, Kanoa Igarashi and more of the men's CT surfers have been up to while the women battled at Bells...
6:05 a.m. AEST
After a huge first day of action, more heats are likely to run today on Day 2 of the Bells waiting period. While the men are waiting to get started, among the women, the No. 1 spot is hanging in the balance. We'll share updates on the call as soon as they're in.
Wednesday, April 12 AEST
5:30 p.m. AEST
Looks like it's good news for Sally Fitzgibbons, considering how scary things looked when she entered the medical tent. The crew on hand was concerned she may have cut some tendons, based on the amount of blood. Sally was clearly in pain. Fortunately, it was just a deep flesh wound, and Sally was taken care of with three stitches. Given Sally surfed in Fiji a couple years ago after rupturing her ear drum it's likely we'll see her competing again at Bells.
4:21 p.m. AEST
Update on Sally Fitzgibbons: According to women's commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer, Fitzgibbons has a fairly large laceration on the top of her left foot. She's been attended to by the WSL medical team. We'll update as more info is provided.
4:15 p.m. AEST
The event is officially on hold. Check back tomorrow April 13, 2017 (in Australia) at 7:00 a.m. AEST for the call. The forecast is looking promising, highly likely Men's Round One will run.
3:57 p.m. AEST
Lakey Peterson re-found the form that lead her to a runner up finish at the Tour's kick off event -- the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. The Californian used her powerful, full rail carving game to take down Steph Gilmore and Tatiana Weston-Webb in their Round Three battle.
3:12 p.m. AEST
Reigning World Champion Tyler Wright posted some big scores in Heat 2 of Round Three despite an in-form and fired up Sage Erickson nipping at her heels. But the way Wright earned her pair of 9.2's was by truly surfing a level above her opponents as the surf got well overhead. Drawing deep lines and carving a wide variety of massive arcs in the pocket, Wright roared on the rail, reminiscent of John John at Main Break Margaret River last week. Piece of advice for the other women to follow? Surf the wave like Wright just did.
2:47 p.m. AEST
At the beginning of Heat 1 of Round Three the Triple C's (Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue and Coco Ho) had a little trouble finding position with the increasing new swell. But 3x World Champ and event winner, Carissa Moore, found her footing first, putting Ho and Conlogue into combo town, continuing her tear from the previous round. In an amazing last ditch effort however, Conlogue bounced back into the game, nabbing some back-to-back leg-burners that opened up for multiple maneuvers. While not quite enough to overcome Moore, Conlogue's attempt came damn-close and apparently alarmed the 3x event Champ. "I was pretty mad when Courtney got her last wave because I totally thought she was gonna get the score," said Moore. "I'm just really stoked I get to skip that next round because I need a nap!"
2:36 p.m. AEST
After a disappointing Round One heat, Carissa Moore continues to raise her game in each successive round. She just won her Round Three heat over a late-charging Courtney Conlogue, but it was her top scoring ride from Round Two that set the bar for the ladies on day one at Bells.
2:10 p.m. AEST
The Southern Ocean continues to provide, and sets keep pouring through the Bells Bowl. It's too good to stop now, we're on for Round Three:
1:49 p.m. AEST
In Heat 5, French countrywomen and travel partners, Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay, found themselves matched up in another early round heat for the second time already this year. Which clearly is a bummer, as in Round Two -- two women enter, one woman leaves. Surfing with a little more flair and commitment than her compatriot, Defay got the best of Ado, yet again. "Yeah… unfortunately we are friends," sighed Defay with a bittersweet smile. "Pauline didn't really have waves to let her do anything out there, but I guess that ended up being good for me." Defay's into Round Three, Ado looks to regroup as the Tour heads to Brazil following Bells.
1:34 p.m. AEST
For the first time in ages, there's a tie atop the Jeep leaderboard, leading to two women --Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore -- wearing the coveted yellow jersey in the early rounds at Bells Beach. In this video, women's commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer explains the situation:
12:32 p.m. AEST
In Heat 3 of Round Two, 3x World Champion and 3x (back-to-back) Rip Curl Pro winner, Carissa Moore, decided to show up and blow up. Comboing Ella Williams within the first 10 minutes of the heat, Carissa built a giant 19.13-point heat total by the end, literally throwing away high-8's. Destroying Bells' righthanders with her patented power wraps and aggressive end-section carves, Moore nabbed a 9.80 and 9.33 on the journey. Pottz said it best mid-heat with: "Carissa's surfing Round Two like it's a Final! She's just not leaving anything to chance or underestimating her opponent in the least." Certainly, it's performances like this that could potentially earn Moore her 4th bell… and/or fourth World Title.
12:06 p.m. AEST
In Heats 1 and 2 of Round Two, both Coco Ho and Lakey Peterson advanced, but definitely not easily. Coco Ho, for instance went blow-for-blow with Keely Andrew the whole heat, Andrew actually maintaining the lead until Ho finally caught a wave before the buzzer to inch past Andrew by just 0.14 of a point. In the following heat, a very energized Lakey Peterson dominated most of the heat, but had some very uncommon glitches and bogs along the way. "I think I misread the conditions a little bit," said Peterson. "I felt like I was overpowering it a bit and digging rail and could've used a little longer board." Regardless, Peterson's on to Round Three.
High Noon AEST
Even on a down day, the guys are hyped on Bells. Jordy Smith finds the honey pot:
11:57 a.m. AEST
Heats 1 & 2 are in the books, stay tuned here for a full re-cap:
Round Two, Heat 2
Lakey Peterson v. Bronte Macaulay
Round Two, Heat 1
Coco Ho v. Keely Andrew
10:52 a.m. AEST
We're rolling straight into Round Two of the Women's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Consistent, overhead waves at Bells Bowl are providing plenty of opportunities for big scores:
10:49 a.m. AEST
As one of a small cadre of goofyfoots currently on the Women's CT, Tatiana Weston-Webb used her backhand, and its "point of distinction," to vertically spank the coping on a string of overhead Bells Bowl walls. Weston-Webb is a confident competitor who thrives in the heat of the moment, but is also prone to momentary lapses in composure. But not today. Weston-Webb held off an ever-dangerous Silvana Lima and Johanne Defay, using drawn-out backhand bottom turns and her whole quiver of backside snaps to lock down a Round One heat win.
10:17 a.m. AEST
Sally Fitzgibbons is the picture of a surfer enjoying the buzz of complete confidence. Cleary still rolling from her impressive win at Margaret River over reigning Champ Tyler Wright, Fitzgibbons looks vibrant in and out of the water. Pressed by an energetic Lakey Peterson, Fitzgibbons was the model of efficiency, surfing just two waves in the entire heat, but utilizing both to maximize her scores. It's the sign of a competitor using experience (she's rung the bell twice in her career already), fitness and form as a platform for success, revitalizing a career that sagged somewhat in 2016.
9:43 a.m. AEST
Picking up where she left off following her Semifinal defeat at Margaret River, Steph Gilmore admitted she might be over-analyzing and lacking some confidence. "I seem to be playing the patience game, maybe a bit too much," she told WSL's Barton Lynch after her Round One victory. "I just start overthinking, I guess I'm still learning, even after all these years on Tour." Gilmore's surfing is still stylish, technical, powerful and a joy to watch. Her lack of confidence is a bit mystifying. As Martin Potter noted in the webcast booth, "Steph just needs to ride waves." Gilmore would be wise to let all the extra noise between her ears dissipate, the rest will sort itself out.
9:16 a.m. AEST
Bucking the start of a mini-trend of upsets in the first two heats of Round One, Tyler Wright efficiently squashed any chance of Laura Enever and Kiwi wildcard Ella Williams continuing the trend. "It's actually pretty good out there," said Wright, "if you're patient and do your turns, it's pretty easy. But it's a tight turnaround from Margaret River, only a day for prep." Wright was emphatic when asked about John John Florence's performance at Margaret's. "I was very inspired by John John, there was never a falter, never a fumble. It was really inspiring!"
8:41 a.m. AEST
Injury wildcard replacement Isabella Nichols (for Malia Manuel) hits the water at Bells in Round One, Heat 4 versus Steph Gilmore and Keely Andrew:
8:04 a.m. AEST
One of the longstanding tenets at Bells is that local knowledge pays dividends. It's a bit of a stretch to call Victorian Nikki Van Dijk a "local," but her Round One upset over Carissa Moore, along with and Bronte Macaulay, once again proved the old adage to be true. Van Dijk hails from Phillip Island, which is about three hours down the road from Torquay. She used patience and wave selection to score a ride nearing the excellent range (8.00 or better) late in their heat. In the process, she relegated one of the event favorites in the form of Riss Moore to the dreaded Round Two elimination heats.
7:50 a.m. AEST
Proving that momentum and mindset count for a lot, Sage Erickson just won her Round One heat against defending event champ Courtney Conlogue and Hawaiian Coco Ho.
6:45 a.m. AEST
Women's Round One is ON at 7:05 a.m., the men are off for the day.
5:18 a.m. AEST
As we await the call, here's the latest on the promising Surfline forecast for Bells. Will they run, or won't they? Stay tuned...
Tuesday, April 11 AEST
11:00 a.m. AEST
8:00 a.m. AEST
Stab magazine has put together a great piece filled with reaction from the pros to John John Florence's much talked about performance at the Margaret River Pro. Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater are among those chiming in. If you're still doubting whether Florence raised the bar, you may want to hear what the 11x World Champion has to say. Read the whole story here.
I can assure you every surfer on Tour is questioning either their talent or approach after watching that, and will all need to step up or step aside. - Kelly Slater
7:00 a.m. AEST Here's a look at Surfline's latest forecast. Conditions at Bells today are small and lumpy, but there's plenty of action looming on the horizon.
Monday, April 10, AEST
9:30 p.m. AEST
After his landmark performance at Margaret River, John John Florence is entering the Rip Curl Pro atop the Jeep Leaderboard with a 1300 point lead over No. 2 Owen Wright. The big question now, given Florence's inspirational performance last week, was whether he'll be able to keep the momentum at Bells Beach, where he's struggled. Florence's heat win percentage (HWP) at Bells is 57.14%, which is eighth best among active Championship Tour surfers. In 14 heat appearances he's averaged 14.33 points, which is a far cry from the 19-pointers he was dropping in Margies. But Florence has flashed some brilliance there, too, including this perfect 10 in 2014, on his way to a Semifinal finish.
5:30 p.m. AEST
Joel Parkinson is heading into Bells with some impressive career stats, too. Parko leads the pack in both average heat score (AHS) and heat winning percentage (HWP). His AHS in 65 appearances is 15.55, which is .13 higher than Mick Fanning's for the league's best. His HWP is 78.46%, which is 1.08% higher than Fanning's, and also the league's best. So, can we still expect big things from Parko?
4:30 p.m. AEST
2014 World Champion Gabriel Medina is looking to bounce back from his early exit at Margaret River. The high-flying Brazilian jumped over to Bells early to get settled in with his equipment. This is what "getting settled" looks like when you're Medina.
3:30 p.m. AEST
While Mick Fanning's had a lackluster start to the season with two early exits, history suggests he can turn things around at Bells. Fanning's four wins at the Rip Curl Pro put him right atop the record books with Mark Richards, who won in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982. Fanning's wins came in 2001, 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 33 of his 84 heats surfed at Bells Beach, his heat totals have reached the excellent range (16-points or higher). Fanning arrived in Torquay on Monday after some fun warm-up sessions on the Gold Coast. But he was keeping a sharp eye on Florence's masterful performance in West Oz, reposting the following on Instagram.
1:00 p.m. AEST
With t-minus two days until the waiting period officially begins, the surfers are getting fine tuned. There's been some fun racers on offer for the warmup sessions at Bells. Rookie Ezekiel Lau has been taking a few laps around the track.
10:00 a.m. AEST
Tour stars have arrived in Torquay in preparation for the Rip Curl Pro, Stop No. 3 on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour. The men's roster for this year's event includes five former event champions, and three of them are repeat winners. Mick Fanning leads the pack with four wins. Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson both have three. Adriano de Souza and Matt Wilkinson round out the pack with one each.
The women's side is a similar story. Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore both have three Bells trophies. Sally Fitzgibbons has two. And defending champion, Courtney Conlogue, earned her first bell last year.