Slater In For Bells Beach

No wonder Slater is so good at poker. He continues to keep us (and his competitors) guessing. And when he flew under the radar at the Quik Pro and stung the stable of "favorites," we were all thinking, "Uh, oh. Here he goes again."

But Kelly showed no indications that he was back on board. He officially withdrew from the Rip Curl Pro at Bells, flew back to Santa Barbara to hang with his girl and put his fellow competitors' minds at ease. Then the forecast started shaping up. We at SURFING aren't going to claim responsibility for Kelly's whims, but we did slip the champ an encouraging forecast a few days ago. It read like this:

"We're sure you’re checking the charts, but [we] wanted to forward this on just in case you decide to make a last-minute dash to Torquay. Heard it’s beautiful down there this time of year.

Best guesses for Bells coast:

-Sun 16: 3′ clean offshore nw winds, warm

-Mon 17: 4′ inconsistent clean nw to w winds variable in arvo

-Tues 18: 4′, a fraction bigger at times, bumpy surface with light sw-s winds, cooler

-Wed 19: 3-4′, possible late arvo increase, winds freshening from the nw and turning w in arvo

-Thur 20: 8′, possibly bigger, cool w-sw winds clean in morning

-Fri 21: 6-7′, cool w winds, clean in morning

From here on a bit too far out to tell, but swell call for Monday might come a little earlier if anything. I think the action in the first week will be the real deal and that down the track the weather patterns may shift to focus surf on the east coast again…so after the Easter weekend I wouldn’t be expecting a whole lot.

-Sat 22: 4′, warmer, variable winds turning light onshore

-Sun 23: 3′, possible new swell to 5′, n-nw wind, warmer again

-Mon 24 onward: possible (but less likely) large swell and cooler bumpy conditions"

Slater thanked us for the heads up and said he might have to head down there after all. Next thing you know, he's on a plane to Melbourne the following day.

Can you imagine what this does to his fellow title contenders? After having it set in your mind that Kelly is officially out, only to learn that he reinstated himself at the 11th hour? It's smelling at lot like 2006 to us.

2008 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
(1st advances to Round 3; 2nd & 3rd advance to Round 2)

Heat #1: Bobby Martinez, Luke Munro, Royden Bryson
Heat #2: Dean Morrison, Dayyan Neve, Travis Logie
Heat #3: Jeremy Flores, Bruce Irons, Tiago Pires
Heat #4: Pancho Sullivan, Neco Padaratz, Jihad Khodr
Heat #5: Andy Irons, Jordy Smith, Chris Ward
Heat #6: Bede Durbidge, Tim Reyes, Daniel Ross
Heat #7: Joel Parkinson, Ben Dunn, Nic Muscroft
Heat #8: Mick Fanning, Adrian Buchan, Stuart Kennedy
Heat #9: Taj Burrow, Leonardo Neves, Nathan Hedge
Heat #10: Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza, Troy Brooks
Heat #11: {{{CJ}}} Hobgood, Dane Reynolds, Daniel Wills
Heat #12: Kai Otton, Jay Thompson, Ricky Basnett
Heat #13: Tom Whitaker, Ben Bourgeois, Fred Patacchia
Heat #14: Taylor Knox, Michael Campbell, Mikael Picon
Heat #15: Damien Hobgood, Kieren Perrow, Heitor Alves
Heat #16: Luke Stedman, Roy Powers, Rodrigo Dornelles

To watch the LIVE webcast visit