After his win at Snapper, Kelly headed back to Santa Barbara, back to the Channel Islands factory, back to diligently designing boards with Al Merrick for Bells—event he was pretty sure he was going to pull out of. And for as much of a contradiction as that sounds, these days that's just how Kelly's going to roll. He's going to crush everybody, but do it with a bit of ambiguity. When pressed about his plans for '08 during his after-heat webcast interviewed he asked, "Can we just talk about the heat?"
But Kelly did show up at Bells, and he delivered. Admittedly, he did it in large part because of the swell forecast. So, if Kelly won't tell anybody what he's going to do, or if he really doesn't know what he's going to do like he says, for the rest of the year all you have to do is look at the weather maps to find out. Think about it? He's not going to Tavarua if it's going to be flat, but heck, if there's a chance at 8-foot Restaurant's, what do you think? Or Teahupoo, why take the chance of losing to Jeremy Flores again in marginal conditions? But if there's a chance to crack a few beers in the barrel, yeah, why not. So for now, because nobody's going to get the answer out of him, count on the run at Number 9 ultimately depending on what's happening in our upper atmosphere.
And the rest of the pack? The guys who are kicking and clawing over one another to assume the throne? That leaves us with Andy looking increasingly meaner and hungrier. He breezed through his much hyped heat against Jordy Smith like it was just another stormy day at Pine Trees. While some people struggled with their equipment, Andy's board looked like it was working well—and yes, the 6'0", swallow-tail that Kelly was riding looking like it has a bit of magic to it as well.
For the first time in 15 events Mick lost his Round One heat. He would get back on the horse later in the day and survive the dregs of the elimination round, as would perpetual dark horse Bede Durbidge. But mind you, last year nobody that surfed Round 2 heat won the contest. Then there was Parko who made the turbulent conditions look, well, not so turbulent. If he can find that extra gear this year, he's going to be a contender.
Should the surf clean up, and should Bells really turn on, it's going to be interesting. The wave's open face has the potential to expose a lot of flaws and weaknesses in the more radical acts, while rewarding those who know a thing or two about drawing clean lines. Stay tuned, the rest of Round Two is coming up.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.67, Luke Munro (AUS) 7.07, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 5.67
Heat 2: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.00, Dean Morrison (AUS) 8.27, Travis Logie (ZAF) 6.00
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.83, Bruce Irons (HAW) 10.83, Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.00
Heat 4: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 13.77, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 10.67, Jihad Khodr (BRA) 10.14
Heat 5: Andy Irons (HAW) 12.84, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.17, Chris Ward (USA) 7.87
Heat 6: Daniel Ross (AUS) 17.33, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.33, Tim Reyes (USA) 3.47
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.26, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 14.84, Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.57
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.33, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.76, Mick Fanning (AUS) 7.24
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.67, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 12.00, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 7.53
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.67, Troy Brooks (AUS) 5.34
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.83, Dane Reynolds (USA) 8.90, Daniel Wills (AUS) 4.43
Heat 12: Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.80, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.83, Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 10.83
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.67, Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.83, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.34
Heat 14: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.26, Michael Campbell (AUS) 11.60, Mikael Picon (FRA) 11.40
Heat 15: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.33, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.83, Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.83
Heat 16: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 13.83, Roy Powers (HAW) 13.23, Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.50
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.17 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 5.50
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.33 def. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 6.63
Heat 3: Troy Brooks (AUS) 16.10 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 12.50
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.50 def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 8.23
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Chris Ward (USA)
Heat 6: Leonardo Neves (BRA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 8: Ben Dunn (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 11: Neco Padaratz (BRA) vs. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW) vs.Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 13: Luke Munro (AUS) vs. Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 15: Ben Bourgeois (USA) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 16: Michael Campbell (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)