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Kelly Slater watches Joel Parkinson, Bells Beach

This morning, Adriano De Souza won the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, after he beat Californian Nat Young in the final. Yesterday, the business end of the event was ominously vacated by two of the four favourites (the favourites being Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Jordy Smith). Adriano beat Mick in the quarters, and Jordy in the semis. But, what about Kelly and Joel?

In round three, Kelly surfed against Willian Cardoso and lost. “I tweaked my back a few days ago and am nowhere near 100 percent so I have to go get an MRI on it,” said Kelly. “That said, Willian smoked me. Plain as that. He was surfing really well and really powerful so congrats to him.” The following heat saw Joel Parkinson lose, despite a 19.10 combined heat total, to Raoni Monteiro, who surfed the heat of his life and put together 19.17 points. “No one ever wants to lose,” Joel said afterwards. “No one wants to lose with a 10 and a 9 either, but Raoni is surfing really well and if he beats me with those kind of scores then he definitely deserves credit.”

Which brings us to the moment you see above. Kelly Slater, still in his wetsuit, watching Joel (just out of view). “This was Joel’s 10 point ride and Kelly was paying close attention,” says photog Ryan Miller, who captured the moment. “This guy doesn’t miss a beat and I am sure he was thinking about points scenarios as he watched Joel ride this wave.”

But the only point scenarios that Kelly should care about right now are these: He currently has the most on tour, followed by Mick Fanning. Kelly has said repeatedly that he’s committed to tour this year, something Taylor Knox made a point of saying was the most definitive he’s heard Kelly sound in years. There’s also over a month off for Kelly’s back to heal before heading to Rio De Janeiro for the Billabong Pro. What do you suppose happens next?


Photographer profile

Ryan Miller/ www.redbull.com/surfing

Ryan Miller, 33 years old, does not know how to write a bad email. Your pals at Stab have learnt to live vicariously through Miller’s red wine-fuelled letters from the road. His travels take him to some dreamy locales and, in those places, he scores all-time photos: “My favourite photo I’ve shot was of Benny Bourgeois in the Caribbean, with a fisheye. Often I just take photos, but rarely do I get to make one.” In an age of tail-highs and released fins, Ryan still most likes to shoot someone who can lay-down a big backside turn. Namely: Jordy Smith, Dane Reynolds, Gabe Kling, Kekoa Bacalso, Damien Hobgood and Peter Mendia. Like most photogs, Miller misses Scott Aichner’s work. But, as far as contemporary inspiration? “Trying to see things through my daughter’s eyes. It’s wild to think about someone experiencing something totally new on almost a daily basis when, as adults, we rarely get to experience something truly new.”

Visit Ryan Miller/ www.redbull.com/surfing's site here

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