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Recap: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men's Opening Day

Date: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Schedule: Round 1 (Heats 1-12) Round 2 (Heats 1-2)
Conditions: Four-to-six foot (1 metre) waves at Bells Bowl.

After a holding period throughout the opening days of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach waiting period, Men's Round 1 action kicked off in pumping four-to-six foot waves at Bells Bowl.

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.77, Nat Young (USA) 14.10, Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.90

The opening heat commenced in the early morning with brawny Australian Bede Durbidge, 2013 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach runner-up Nat Young and Portuguese talent Tiago "Tiger" Pires lighting up firing Bells Bowl conditions.

Durbidge carried over his momentum from an impressive Semifinals finish at Margaret River, unloading his power turns on the Bells Walls to jump out to an early lead. While both Pires and Young fought back with strong attacks of their own, Durbidge controlled the bout from start-to-finish, adding an 8.17 and 7.60 to his scoreline to take the win.

Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.33, Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.03, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 6.57

Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz, Australian Josh Kerr and Brazilian Raoni Monteiro entangled in a gritty battle in Heat 2.

While the affair was absent of any major scores, Zietz would get the job done, connecting a midrange score of a 5.33 that propelled him to victory.

Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.60, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.33, Brett Simpson 5.40

Another sluggish heat followed, with the world's best struggling to find a rhythm in the Bells Bowl.

Heat 3 saw the slow affair come down to a last minute exchange, with Taj Burrow getting the best of the sets over Jeremy Flores and Brett Simpson to secure a Round 3 berth.

Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.16, Fred Patacchia (HAW) 11.83, Glenn Hall (IRL) 8.87

Reigning three-time ASP World Champion and two-time event winner Mick Fanning took to the water next, battling veteran Fred Patacchia and injury replacement Glenn Hall.

Fanning's surgical rail-game was electric in the open walls at Bells, blending seamless forehand carves to net a pair of 7s. While Patacchia belted a 7 of his own for a series of solid backhand combinations, Fanning's 14.16 total proved enough for the win.

Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.87, Adam Melling (AUS) 11.77, Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 10.56

The Bells Bowl was back in full swing as 2012 ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson teed off against compatriot Adam Melling and wildcard Cahill Bell-Warren.

Melling's ice-cold technical precision was in full effect early on, posting solid scores and putting the pressure on his opponents.

Parkinson responded in kind, nailing scores late in the affair (including one on the buzzer) to steal the win and advance directly into Round 3.

Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.77, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.57, Jacob Wilcox (AUS) 5.00

Heat 6 saw 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater take on the next generation of Kolohe Andino and wildcard Jacob Willcox.

Andino locked in the first scoring ride, connecting a series of clean forehand carves for a 5.00. Slater, a four-time winner at Bells, battled back, snatching a 7.00 when he connected three big turns.

The seesaw battle continued as the heat shifted to a race for first between Slater and Andino. Following a late takeoff, the Californian linked a solid outside turn, a carving 360 and fins-free snap for an additional 5.57, surpassing Slater for the lead at the halfway point.

With just one minute remaining, an exchange unfolded between both Slater and Andino, with Slater in need of a 3.57 to take the win. Slater capitalized, getting the score needed to take the last-second victory off of Andino.

Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.10, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.17, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.80

Heat 7 of Round 1 was truly an international affair with Tahitian Michel Bourez, Australian Adrian Buchan, and Aritz Aranburu from the Basque region of Spain all battling in the Bells Bowl.

Bourez, fresh off a win from Margaret River, bolted out to an early lead but struggled with posting a significant second score.

This left the door open for Aranburu who punched in a solid preliminary score of his own in the dying minutes of the heat, taking the win and advancing directly into Round 3.

Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.60, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.97, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.37

Jordy Smith took a commanding start to open Heat 8, delivering a series of powerful forehand combinations for an 8.00. The South African quickly backed up the ride with a 6.50, leaving his fellow competitors in urgent need to get a start.

Rookie campaigner Dion Atkinson was able to step up, synching a big forehand carve and committed layback for a 7. Smith extended his lead, belting an additional 7.60 to secure the dominant heat win.

Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.17, Travis Logie (ZAF) 8.30, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.84

Heat 9 saw a battle of the goofy-footers with current ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina, veteran Travis Logie and Miguel Pupo capitalize on pumping conditions at Bells Beach.

All three competitors struggled to find a rhythm, but Medina further established the threat of his backhand rail-game, navigating the slopey walls at Bells with ease to secure a Round 3 berth.

Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.10, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.33, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.50

Owen Wright struck first in Heat 10, detonating a series of precise backhand turns for a 7.00 and an early lead over defending event champion Adriano de Souza and progressive talent Matt Wilkinson.

De Souza fought back, posting a heat-high 7.83. Wright built momentum by adding an additional 7-point ride, continuing his rhythm in the pulsing conditions. The Brazilian locked in to a last-second ride, but failed to capitalize, securing Wright's first Round 1 victory since his return to competition.

Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.83, Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.77, John John Florence (HAW) 9.26

In one of the most highly-anticipated matches of Round 1, dynamic Australians Julian Wilson and Mitch Crews took on Hawaiian wunderkind John John Florence.

In changing conditions, the three surfers struggled to find the most ideal scoring waves until Wilson lit up the Bells Bowl, drawing unique lines and surfing with progression. The Sunshine Coaster advanced directly to Round 3, forcing as Crews and Florence to battle it out in the elimination Round 2.

Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.70, Kai Otton (AUS) 8.73, Jadson Andre (BRA) 5.27

The second all-goofy battle of the day saw 2001 ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood, Australian Kai Otton and Jadson Andre take on challenging conditions at Bells Bowl brought on by the high tide.

Throughout the majority of the affair, Otton held a slim lead compliments of a 5.00. Hobgood detonated a series of challenging backhand maneuvers in the final minutes of the heat, overtaking the lead with a 6.83 of his own to advance directly to Round 3.

Men's Round 2 action continued immediately following Round 1, with ASP Top 34 campaigners battling the high tide at Bells for the opportunity to advance.

Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.97 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.93

The opening heat of Round 2 suffered from a transition in conditions with the energy moving from the Bells Bowl up to Rincon.

Tour veteran Kerr took on wildcard Willcox.

Both surfers struggled to find scoring rides, finishing on the sand multiple times, forcing the heat decider to the final exchange.

Kerr pulled ahead in the dying moments and Willcox's 11th hour effort fell agonizingly short.

Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 10.34 def. Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 8.27

With a high tide plaguing the Bells Beach lineup, Young and wildcard Bell-Warren shifted their focus to Rincon.

A low scoring battle unfolded, but Young's backhand assault on a steep right for a 6.17 proved enough for a win over the local favorite.

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