2017 Rip Curl Pro champ Jordy Smith. Photo: JOLI

We’re just a few days away from the second event of the Men’s & Women’s 2018 WSL Championship Tours at Bells Beach. Typically, most of the surfers stay in Australia between the Gold Coast and Bells Beach to give themselves a chance to adjust to the area, temperature changes that occur between the two locations, and to decompress after the first intense event of the year before the next one begins.

Here’s what we can statistically say about the Bells events:

-Regular foot dominance is just as strong at Bells as it has been on the Gold Coast the past 20 years. Matt Wilkinson won the event in 2016, and became the first goofy to win the Men’s event since Occy did it in 1998.

-Finals are typically high-scoring affairs once the event gets down to the final two surfers. Since the two-wave scoring system was implemented in 2003, no event champion on the men’s side has scored below 15.27 points in the final. Compared to many events on tour, this is a very high number. Runners up have never scored below 12.00 points since 2003. So, expect there to be big scores thrown the surfer’s way.

-On the Women’s side, back-to-back is a common occurrence. Defending event champion Courtney Conlogue has won the last two Bells events (2016 & 2017). Before that, Carissa Moore won three in a row (2013-2015). And before Carissa, Sally Fitzgibbons won two in a row (2011-2012). Add in the fact that Stephanie Gilmore has won two in a row at Bells previously, and you have 4 surfers who have asserted themselves as the dominant figures in this event.

-To go along with her three victories at Bells, Stephanie Gilmore has made the final at Bells an astonishing 7 times; including twice in the past three years.

-The 2017 Men’s final was the first time in the Rip Curl Pro’s storied history that an American or an Australian did not make the final.

-Wildcards have a strong history of success at Bells. In 1987 Nicky Wood won the event as a wildcard. Mick Fanning repeated the feat in 2001 as a wildcard. And local trialist Adam Robertson made the final in 2009 only to lose to Joel Parkinson.

-Four-time event champions Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater are the holders of the active record for wins at Bells.

-On the men’s side, there are 5 former event champions competing in the event this year. Mick Fanning (2001,12,14,15), Joel Parkinson (2004,09,11), Adriano DeSouza (2013), Matt Wilkinson (2016), and Jordy Smith (2017). Kelly Slater (1994,06,08,10) has withdrawn from the event due to injury.

-Rookies have done fairly well at Bells in the last five years. As rookies, Nat Young (2013) and Caio Ibelli (2017) both made the final.

And here’s the facts:

WHO: The WSL Men's Top 34 + 2 wildcards and the WSL Women's Top 17 + 1 wildcard

WHAT: Event no.2 for the 2018 WSL Championship Tour

WHEN: March 28 – April 8, 2018

WHERE: Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia

HOW TO WATCH: Tune in to WorldSurfLeague.com or watch via your Facebook feed.

TIME ZONE: Victoria Australia is 16 hours ahead of the US East Coast and 19 hours ahead of the US West Coast. This means that 7:00 AM March 28th at Bells Beach is…

2:00 PM, March 27th in Los Angeles
5:00 PM, March 27th in New York

12:00 PM, March 27th in Hawaii

10:00 PM, March 27th in London

11:00 PM, March 27th in Paris

12:00 AM, March 27th in Durban, South Africa

7:00 PM, March 27th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

7:00 AM, March 28th in Tokyo

If you don't find yourself in one of the above-mentioned time zones, we highly recommend checking the time difference between Bells Beach and your location at TimeAndDate.com

INJURIES: **UPDATED**As of today (Mar 26 AUS, Mar 25 USA), Kelly Slater has withdrawn from the event due to his ongoing foot injury. He has been replaced in the draw by Michael February. Courtney Conlogue has withdrawn from the women’s event and has been replaced by Macy Callaghan for the second straight event.

WILDCARDS: Rp Curl has confirmed that Kobie Enright (Women) and Mikey Mcdonagh (Men) have been given / earned spots into the main event as wildcards. Both are now available for trading. Carl Wright won the men’s trials and secures the final spot in the event

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Men: Jordy Smith, Women: Courtney Conlogue

HEAT DRAW:
MEN's 2018 RIP CURL PRO
ROUND 1 HEAT DRAW
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo, Griffin Colapinto, Michael February
Heat 2: Owen Wright, Conner Coffin, Ezekiel Lau
Heat 3: Jordy Smith, Caio Ibelli, Pat Gudauskas
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Ian Gouveia
Heat 5: John John Florence, Tomas Hermes, Mikey Mcdonagh
Heat 6: Julian Wilson, Joan Duru, Carl Wright
Heat 7: Adriano De Souza, Michel Bourez, Keanu Asing
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson, Jeremy Flores, Yago Dora
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino, Frederico Morais, Willian Cardoso
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan, Connor O'Leary, Michael Rodrigues
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson, Kanoa Igarashi, Wade Carmichael
Heat 12: Mick Fanning, Sebastian Zietz, Jesse Mendes

WOMEN's 2018 RIP CURL PRO
ROUND 1 HEAT DRAW
Heat 1: Carissa Moore, Sage Erickson, Bronte Macauley
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore, Keely Andrew, Coco Ho
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons, Silvana Lima, Kobie Enright
Heat 4: Tyler Wright, Malia Manuel, Paige Hareb
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Macy Callaghan
Heat 6: Nikki Van Dijk, Johanne Defay, Caroline Marks

Trade your teams NOW for the Rip Curl Pro at FantasySurfer.com

And here’s one last bit of nostalgia for you as Mick Fanning named the Rip Curl Pro as his final event on tour. Watch the final heat ever between Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning in the 2017 Rip Curl Pro.