Griffin Colapinto revealed today on Instagram that he's been working hard to recover from a torn MCL. After surfing the Gold Coast at "about 80%", the Californian headed to Bells, rested his knee, and on his second freesurf re-injured it feeling "too comfortable" on an under-the-lip layback.
Griffin has withdrawn from the Rip Curl Pro and will be replaced by local Victorian native Xavier Huxtable. The 16-year-old Rip Curl grom recently finished second-place at the Rip Curl Trials and could have a chance to make a name for himself at his first CT event.
Also, Sebastian Zietz has a baby on the way, and is withdrawing from competition at Bells because he is, "Looking forward to spending her first weeks of life with her before heading to Bali."
Seabass will be replaced by Australian Reef Heazlewood who recently finished ninth-place through a Wildcard spot at the Quik Pro Gold Coast. Heazelewood also gave current World No. 1 Italo Ferreira a run for his money at the Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast event held at Dbah, coming in second-place.
Due to the fact that both withdraws occurred after the start of the event window, Round 1 heats won't change, apart from the fact that Xavier will take Griffin's spot in H3 surfing against Filipe Toledo and Kelly Slater and Reef will take Sebastian's spot in H10 surfing against Michel Bourez and Deivid Silva.
Reseeding will occur from Round 2 onwards.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men's Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Xavier Huxtable (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Harrison Mann (AUS)
Heat 7: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 9: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 12: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Watch the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach live April 17-27 live on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.