Kelly Slater gets his first win in nine events at the Rip Curl Pro Bells, Johanna, 13th and Winkipop
By Travis Ferré
Photos and captions by Jimmicane
It takes 2 hours to get to Johanna Beach from Bells. During that drive this morning, I drank two long black coffees (the closest thing Australia serves to regular coffee) and listened to Millencollin and AFI. Jimmicane and myself were feeling nostalgic. With my board and wetsuit in the back we meandered through the countryside. I felt like I was on my way to an NSSA. When we arrived at Johanna we found sunny skies and glassy peaks. I went surfing. I ran into Nick Carroll, Tom Curren’s son Patrick and Dillon Perillo. Dillon got really barreled and my Xanadu showed some good signs.If anyone turned some heads today, it was Gabriel Mendina. He literally surfed all day and boosted dozens of airs sticking a few huge ones.
The beach at Johanna is very similar to a little spot in CA that rhymes with “yo mama.” If you know anything about that spot, it’s not the place you want to listen to beach commentators and bad music. It is wide open, lush and raw. Untouched. Today, however, it was very touched. Rather inappropriately actually. Nick Carroll called it “criminal.” But we’re both part of the mess, so we chuckled and went to watch the contest after we surfed. Thanks for having us by the way. We stayed off the vegetation.Team Africa rolls deep.
Most victories throughout the day went to plan. Bobby Martinez beat Joel Parkinson though, and did so in very fine fashion. He punted a massive air and did turns that make you wanna listen to Tupac. Taj lost to Fanning in a heat that could have went either way. Both surfers were a little off. Kelly looked good all day, even with his busted hoof. You could maybe say Jordy got robbed. I know he would and I’d agree with him. Other than that it was business as usual for Kelly and Mick.1st and 3rd ain’t a bad way to start off a year on the WCT.
This event, which ran at four different venues over 11 days has made a lot of men and women delirious. And while it may have been a gauntlet that would have scared even Richard Gere, it may become one of those turning point moments for the bald dude everyone is so fond of, myself included. The dude is gnarly. He won the final surfing in unique fashion. Before today, Kelly hadn’t won a final since Brazil last year — nearly nine events ago. He’s now tasted blood. It should scare everyone on tour.Taj and Steadz enjoying the day at Johanna.
The beginning of the final may go down as one of the worst for Kelly though. “I was getting pretty mad at myself out there,” he said. “I think I frightened the camera guy.”Why did Bobby not stick to the left that he faired so well on for his
semi final heat against Kelly?
In what appeared to be an act of desperation, Kelly took off on an unassuming right, did a cutback, then raced towards the lip. “I wanted to do an air reverse, but the lip didn’t really allow for it. So I threw the alley oop.” The maneuver looked desperate, even exaggerated, but in true Kelly fashion, he stayed connected to his board. And while it took him almost half the heat to stand back up, he did manage to pull the maneuver, and with a slap of the water and a fist pump he was back out there, but all fired up.Not bad, but also not good when you’re expectations are as high as Joel Parkinson’s.
Mick surfed exactly as he usually does when he wins. Flawless and strong. I stood with Jordy Smith for the start of the final. “I just wish the judges were looking for more variety, and took it into account more,” Jordy said. “Dammit I wish I was out there.” Jordy now finds himself neck and neck with the big dogs with a semifinal finish and a runner up on the Gold Coast.This turn has made Mick a good amount of money, but it didn’t make him 50 G’s today. He’ll settle for 25.
On Kelly’s paddle back out he snuck another magic wave beneath Fanning and it turned into the clinching wave. “And he says he has a bum foot.” Mick said as Kelly got his face painted by the Wathaurong (local aboriginal tribe) for the fourth time, which ties the record for most wins at Bells with Mark Richards.Roundhouse cutback 101 with Mr. Slater.
As you can see my day ended almost as nostalgic as it began. Kelly and Mick in the final. As the world tour turns. Two weeks until Brazil. Get psyched.
They give out Bells for Johanna too.