BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia (Wednesday, April 20, 2011) - Today marks the commencement of the 50th Anniversary of competition surfing at Bells Beach as Round 1 of the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Bells presented by Ford Ranger got underway in clean four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) surf.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the second stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season, enjoyed consistent surf throughout the day as the world's best surfers unleashed a barrage of high-performance ripping on the classic canvas of Bells Beach.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champion put in a sensational performance this afternoon, electing to sit up at Rincon to secure the day's highest scores.. Parkinson locked in the highest wave score and the highest heat score of the opening day of competition scoring 17.74 (out of a possible 20.00) to advance directly through to Round 3 of competition.
"I fell off twice on the bowl," Parkinson said. "It was really hard to ride. Then CJ (Hobgood) went across to Rincon and got a score, so we followed him over and it worked out for me. It's great to get that opening heat win, especially at Bells. You never know what conditions you're going to get in a heat, so to be able to skip round two and maybe get a day off is a huge advantage."
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion and defending event winner, was clinical in his attack in his Round 1 heat. Slater had his fellow competitors Adam Robertson (AUS), 28, and Kai Otton (AUS), 31, on the ropes only minutes into the heat, scoring an impressive 16.00 (out of a possible 20.00) on his opening two rides.
"I don't free surf out at Bells a whole lot," Slater said. "When the waves are good the comp is on and outside of that it's pretty crowded. So I'm still learning with each heat out there still, surfing against a guy like Robbo (Adam Robertson) you've got to watch where he's sitting, how far our and how deep."
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, currently equal 13th in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title, went into today's competition with renewed vigor after a shock early exit at the last event on the Gold Coast. The past two-time ASP World Champion came out and dominated his Round 1 battle over Tiago Pires (PRT), 31, and Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17.
"I'm stoked to get a good start," Fanning said. "It's been 10 years since I won here as I wildcard, I got close last year but Kelly Slater got me in the final. You want to win every event, but being the 50th Anniversary and so much history at this event, it's like the Wimbeldon of surfing, it's a hard one to win but it's the one everyone wants."
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, led today's rookie charge, continuing his sensational run after the and equal 5th on the Gold Coast, and dispatching of fellow Brazilian Ranoi Monterio (BRA), 28, and Australian Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28 in this morning's opening round heat.
"It's so good out there!" Muniz said. "This is my first time surfing at Bells and it's the most amazing place. It's got perfect rights, and it's the kind of wave that I love to surf. It's the best place ever, best waves, best weather and I love surfing in wetsuits."
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, bounced back after missing the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast with a knee injury, to score a comprehensive win over Taylor Knox (USA), 39, and Cory Lopez (USA), 34.
"I wasn't very confident before the heat," Flores said. "But I got that first wave and did a big turn at the end and got a good score. I think that's what you need to do these days, finish the wave strong. My knee still isn't 100%, but I went for it and it's good to win. Big thanks to everyone at the Gold Coast Suns Football Club for helping with my knee, it's feeling much better now."
Stu Kennedy (AUS), 21, scored a last minute wildcard into the event and caused the upset of the day, eliminating 2010 ASP World Title runner-up Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, and Dusty Payne (HAW), 22.
"I've been coming here for years," Kennedy said. "I won a Pro Junior here in 2008 and I know where to sit. I don't think Dusty and Jordy know the break as well as I do so that helps. I've been up since 3am because I'm jet-lagged from coming home from Scotland. I woke up with a bunch of energy it's my shaper's birthday so I woke him up at 5am to go surfing. I had to win my heat for him for his birthday."
When men's competition resumes, up first will be 2010 ASP World Runner-Up Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, up against Trials Winner Adam Robertson (AUS), 28, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Following the completion of the men's Round 1 today, the ASP Top 17 hit the water for Round 1 of the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 23, reigning four-time ASP Women's World Champion and defending three-time Rip Curl Women's Bells Beach winner, returned to her winning ways today, after bowing out early at the last event, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
"My first two years on tour I didn't have great results on the Gold Coast," Gilmore said. "I always bounced back at this event and then finished the year well, so hopefully I'll do that again this year. The Gold Coast was a fine showing of what women's surfing is up to now and everyone has to try and keep up. It really pushes me and I think anyone who wins an event from now on will be a very deserving winner because of that fact."
Pauline Ado (FRA), 19, the French rookie caused the upset of the women's event, defeating current ASP World Title front runner Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, in a nail biter of a heat.
"I'm really happy, I had a lot of fun out there," Ado said "I got one of my good waves in the first few seconds so after that I felt confident and knew I could be more selective and wait for the right wave. A heat against Carissa is always a tough one, so I'm really stoked to win."
When women's competition resumes, up first will be Paige Hareb (NZL), 20, and Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 24, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by FORD will be webcast available via www.live.ripcurl.com and broadcast live on Fuel TV in Australia and ESPN in Brazil.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.23, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.26, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 7.37
Heat 2: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.30, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.00
Heat 3: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.36, Bobby Martinez (USA) 14.14, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.60
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.60, Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.07, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.27
Heat 5: Stu Kennedy (AUS) 11.70, Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.50, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.00
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.00, Kai Otton (AUS) 10.13, Adam Robertson (AUS) 8.53
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.17, Cory Lopez (USA) 5.83, Taylor Knox (USA) 4.67
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.60, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.20, Gabe Kling (USA) 3.50
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.60, Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.23, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.07
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.74, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.44, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.17
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.60, Chris Davidson (AUS) 10.83, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.83
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.40, Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.43, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.93
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Adam Robertson (AUS)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 5: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 7: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 9: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.93, Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 8.70, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 8.66
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.94, Laura Enever (AUS) 8.84, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 7.54
Heat 3: Pauline Ado (HAW) 14.60, Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.44, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.63
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.30, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 9.00, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 6.50
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.10, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 12.83 Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.47
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW) 12.90, Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.00, Pauline Ado (FRA) 6.37
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Melanie Bartels (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 4: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) vs. Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)