BELLS BEACH, VIC/Australia: Stop No. 3 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach ran through Rounds 3 and 4 today and the field that started with 36 of the world’s best male surfers was reduced to just 12. Round 4 winners advanced directly into the Quarterfinals, while 2nd and 3rd will need to fight it out in Round 5. The Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach was called off for the day, and could potentially crown a winner tomorrow.
Tour veteran Taj Burrow (AUS) used his 16 years of ASP WCT experience to take out the first Heat of Round 4, finishing with a comfortable lead ahead of last year’s event winner Adriano De Souza (BRA) and fellow Australian Adam Melling. Burrow timed his wave selection perfectly, netting the two top scores of the Heat, 8.07 and 7.50 for a series of fins-free turns and cutbacks. De Souza and Melling made the most of what was being offered to them, but both failed to amass the scores needed to take first place. Burrow’s impressive Heat sees him fast track through to the Quarterfinals with De Souza and Melling being relegated to elimination Round 5.
“I love Bells, it feels great to be through to the Quarterfinals,” said Taj Burrow. “There are some really good waves at home in WA right now, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else right now. The waves here have been really good and I’ve managed to get on a bit of a roll that hopefully I can keep it going”.
In the most highly anticipated matchup of the day, John John Florence (HAW) was explosive in his win over 11-time ASP World Champion and 4-time event winner Kelly Slater (USA) and ASP World No.1 Gabriel Medina (BRA). Slater was first to enter the race with a powerhouse move that netted 8.93 on his first ride, but it was a short-lived lead for the American as John John secured his victory when he dished up a monster front-side 360 aerial, scoring a Perfect 10, the the first of the 2014 season. Slater and Medina will surf again in Round 5 with Florence heading straight to the Quarterfinals.
“It feels so good to win and I’m really happy. I was pretty nervous going into the Heat, it was scary to come up against those Kelly (Slater) and Gabriel (Medina),” said John John Florence. “I got that first wave and forgot about the nerves. I took off, I saw the section coming and just flew to the air, the wind caught and spun me around perfectly. I’m so happy to be making some Heats now and to be in the Quarterfinals.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS) faced a fierce battle in Round 4 Heat 3 against an on-fire Jordy Smith (ZAF) and fellow Australian Owen Wright. Parkinson was quiet for the first half of the Heat, letting Smith clock an 8.17 to take an early lead. It didn’t take long for Parkinson to answer back, maintaining his composure to show off his signature rail-work and net a pair of strong scores in the tricky conditions. With both Smith and Wright unable to produce any further magic for the judges, Parkinson emerged with the victory and a spot in the Quarterfinals.
“In most of the events I’ve surfed so far I’ve taken a while to get into the rhythm, but I love the Bell and I’m three Heats away from it,” said Joel Parkinson. “Three more wins, six more waves, I’m just going to keep it simple.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time ASP World Champion, also advanced into the Quarterfinals with an outstanding Round 4 performance. Fanning won this event as an 18-year-old wildcard 14-years-ago and has been one of the most consistent and explosive surfers at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach ever since. In the last Heat of the day Fanning used his electric and lightning-fast brand of surfing to easily out score Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) and Julian Wilson (AUS), who will have to battle for a Quarterfinal berth in Round 5.
“John John’s air was truly amazing and he deserves to get the first Perfect 10 of the year,” said Mick Fanning. “It’s good to bounce back from a slow start and post some big scores. It feels great to be in the Quarterfinals, especially against the calibre of guys that are already there and in Round 5. There are some crazy match-ups and I’ll definitely be watching.”
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 5 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.57, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.10, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.90
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 18.00, Kelly Slater (USA) 16.53, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.17
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.66, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.00, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.20
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.34, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.17, Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.54
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.90 def Mitch Crews (AUS) 10.84
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.20 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.74
Heat 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.56 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.60
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.00 vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.13
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 15.83 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.53 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 14.40
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.10 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 10.90
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.43 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.83
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.44 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.50
Heat 10: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.66 def. Nat Young (USA) 12.43
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.03 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.34
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.94 vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.50
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