BELLS BEACH, VIC/Australia (Tuesday, April 22, 2014): Stop No. 3 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach ran through Round 4 and the Quarterfinals, leaving just four surfers in the hunt to ring the coveted Bell. The men’s event and the women’s Semifinals were called off for the day after the swell dropped off in the early afternoon. Contest officials will reconvene tomorrow morning to assess conditions.
Perennial ASP Women’s World Title contender Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) faced a tough match-up when she lined up against Malia Manuel (HAW) in the first Quarterfinal. The Hawaiian drew first blood with a series of explosive forehands for an 8.50 score, but the in-form Fitzgibbons was quick to respond, utilizing her speed and power for an 8.33 of her own. The lead changed hands a number of times, but it was Fitzgibbons who emerged with the victory after securing a 8.77 on her final ride and pass into the Semifinals while Manuel leaves the competition in equal 5th place.
“It was really a confidence booster winning that one against Malia (Manuel) and in conditions like today, it’s really like a chess match,” said Sally Fitzgibbons. “You can’t rush out at Bells, she’s taking her time so you’ve got to wait for your turn and really draw a nice line.”
Two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and defending event winner Carissa Moore (HAW) moved one step closer to ringing back-to-back Bells after knocking out fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho in their Quarterfinal match up. Moore also eliminated a battered and bruised local rookie Nikki Van Dijk, who hit both her board and the reef in a tough day of WCT action for the young Australian. Moore had all the fireworks in her Heat against Ho, showing everyone just how much she loves this event when she put up a near flawless 9.67 for a combination of powerful moves. Ho continued her impressive Bells run with a late 8.10 score to rival her compatriot, but it was not enough to overturn Moore who advances through to Semifinals where she will face Sally Fitzgibbons.
“I just went out there and tried to surf my best with no nerves,” said Carissa Moore. “I’ve come against Sally (Fitzgibbons) so much over the years. It has been a challenge and quite frustrating at times because she gets the best of me. I’m really looking forward to surfing against her here. She looks like she is on it, she is picking the right waves and surfing really well. I’m really going to have to step it up if I’m going to make the Final.”
2013 ASP Women’s World Title and Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach runner-up Tyler Wright (AUS) came up against Lakey Peterson (USA) in their Quarterfinal. It was a scrappy affair, with both regular-footers fighting hard for a spot in the Semifinals. Wright made the most of the increasing onshore conditions, smashing a pair of 6s. Peterson fought back, but was unable to find the 7 needed to surpass Wright, who came out on top and will face Stephanie Gilmore in the Semifinals.
“I just rolled with it and I didn’t panic or anything,” said Tyler Wright. “When I saw a wave I just went for it. It turned out that I got two good ones and that was it. So did Lakey (Peterson), she only had two as well. Lakey is a phenomenal surfer and the type that if you give her an inch she’ll make you pay for it.”
The last Quarterfinal of the day saw a match-up between five-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and rookie Dimity Stoyle (AUS) who were both fighting for the last spot in the Semifinals. It was a tight heat with Stoyle challenging her more experienced counterpart to her best ability, but due to deteriorated conditions neither were able to put up big numbers. In a last effort to make something of nothing, Gilmore used her intimate Bells Beach knowledge and experience to find an 8.00-point-ride and move one step closer to claiming her fourth Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title.
“It was a very difficult heat against Dimity (Stoyle)”, said Stephanie Gilmore. “She has been a surprise package the whole year. The swell was a little bit smaller today and these were the perfect conditions for her. I knew if she had the right little pocket on the wave then she would do turns that the judges would really reward. I had to just do my best and figure out a way to beat her.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA) suffered an ankle injury in her morning free surf, forcing a last-minute withdrawal from the event. The incident advanced Manuel directly to the Quarterfinals.
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Match-ups:
Semifinal 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)
Semifinal 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.10 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.50
Quarterfinal 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.84 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 13.77
Quarterfinal 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.94 def. Lakey Peterson (AUS) 10.66
Quarterfinal 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.17 def. Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 6.17
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA) (Heat did not surf)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.26 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.10
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.34 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 5.20
Heat 4: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 11.50 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 8.43
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