NewsRip Curl Women's Pro Bells BeachCaroline Marks

Caroline Marks: "Every Time I Surf a Heat I Get More Confident"

Caroline Marks has continued her wrecking-ball of an arrival on the WSL Championship Tour (CT) so far at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach this weekend in Torquay, Australia.

Easter Sunday, she banked an 8.00 during Round 3 and eliminated Jeep Leader Lakey Peterson during an all-American three-woman heat with Sage Erickson. The rookie was one of the first ones in the water this morning, getting in a freesurf before the sunrise.

Caroline Marks Continues Her Tear
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The rookie keeps her momentum going in Round Three, knocking out Jeep Leader Lakey Peterson.

"I really like all those girls. I've looked up to them my whole life and I knew it was going to be a tough heat," said Marks. "I just tried to go with my own program and it worked out. I really like surfing on my backside, which worked to my advantage because I could get vertical."

It was a hard loss for Peterson, who was looking to hang on to the yellow jersey -- reserved for the surfer at World No. 1 -- for as long as possible. "This is totally an opportunity lost," said Peterson. "It's just really frustrating, I ran out of time. My surfing feels great, through, so I'm taking positives. There's another event next week."

Peterson, of course, wasn't Marks's only victim so far at the event. Saturday, the rookie giant-slayer made it past Australian Keely Andrew during Round 2. This is Marks's first ever at Bells Beach, but the 16-year-old is already comfortable and making strides. Marks, who is currently ranked No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard, will surely be shaking up the rankings by the end of the event.

"I was able to get here really early, which was helpful because it's a tricky wave," she said after winning in Round 2. "It's not the type of place that you can figure out in a day. I've been watching a lot of videos of Occy [Mark Occhilupo] out here. He's a goofyfoot, too, and it's nice to be able to learn from all those guys."

Rookie Caroline Marks Strikes Again
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Saturday at Bells, the 16-year-old Florida wunderkind eliminated Keely Andrew -- current World No. 2 -- from the Rip Curl Pro.

Despite being the youngest rookie ever to join the WSL Championship Tour (on both men's and women's), Marks's cool demeanor and unwavering confidence is gaining her points with the judges. She earned an 7.33, one of the higher scores of the early rounds, on her first wave of the heat.

"Every time I surf a heat on Tour I get more and more confident and more and more comfortable. Snapper was a really good start for me. I felt really calm out there. I was excited about that because I believe in my surfing but it can be nerve-racking. That hasn't hit me yet. I haven't been nervous and I can't really afford to be.

"I'm just trying to have fun because there's not a whole lot of pressure on me right now."

Catch Marks when she paddles out for the Semifinals, where she'll face Stephanie Gilmore. Tune in for the potential continuation of action at Bells Wednesday at 6:45 a.m. local time.

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