Following her victory at the Bells Bowl, chaired up the beach on the shoulders of her coach and mentor, Luke Egan, a look of relief (or was it disbelief?) seemed to overtake Courtney Conlogue's face. "I'm so happy to get another bell," she said afterward, "it's just surreal right now."
Her path to a repeat victory at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach revealed her true warrior spirit. And what a path it was -- more like a climb to the peak of Denali, really -- consisting of the past three World Champions, all totaling 10 World Championship trophies combined since 2006. "There's a lot of times where it comes down to the dying seconds," said a relieved Conlogue, "and you just have to retain your composure."
Paying homage to Aussie battlers past and present, capturing the hearts and souls of the locals along the way, it was an amazing run to victory for the feisty young lady from Santa Ana, California (a landlocked suburb northeast of Huntington Beach). "I just love Bells, this is the perfect arena and when you hit that closeout finish, you just want to land it for the crowd."
And perhaps most telling of Conlogue's second Bells title run was who she beat, and the way she beat them. Besting Carissa Moore (who owns three of those World Titles listed above) in the Quarterfinals with, of all things, a neck-in-neck priority paddle battle. Then her audacious, rise from the grave comeback against Tyler Wright (2016 World Champ) in the Semis.
All of which was capped, exhaustingly, by a tactical smash-and-grab come from behind win in the Final over 6x World Champ, Steph Gilmore.
This [Australian] leg went a little rough for me, but it's good to finish it off and go into Rio this way.
Conlogue's bell ringer of a win takes her catapulting four spots up the Jeep Rankings Leader board into No. 4. Easily moving her within striking distance of Yellow Jersey leader Gilmore, as she heads to Brazil for stop No. 4 of the Championship Tour.