Round one of the 2013 Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach
Kelly Slater is committed to tour and is surfing like a man who wants a 12th world title. Is there anything more terrifying for the rest of the 34? Today in round one of the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, Kelly clocked an 18.07 combined heat total, which included a 9.70 on his last wave of the heat. "I'm committed to the tour this year," said Kelly. "I think in the past I've been of two minds, wanting to compete but also wanting to chase swells around the world, and that's why I've been hesitant to commit before. This year though, I'm committed and focused on the tour. When I stop competing in a few years, I can chase the swells then."
But while Kelly's deadly, Joel Parkinson is steady. The current world champ rang the bell in '04, '09 and '11, and looks an awful lot like he'd dig doing it again this year. "Bells is comfortable place for me," he said after a convincing round one win. "It has so much history and I've been surfing the waves, Rincon and the Bowl and Winki, my whole life. I love coming back here to compete and feel very at home. Kelly set the pace at the first stop on the Goldy, but there are a lot of crew right in the mix."
Julian Wilson scraped past Kai Otton and Patrick Gudauskas today, to scoop his best Bells result to date. "I'm very happy to get through a heat out at Bells," he said. "I had a bit of success here in my junior career, but lost in round two the last few years. So yeah, I'm into round three and that's already the best result of my professional career here."
Currently number five, Jules also made his intentions clear since graduating from sophomore and shaking off the new-to-tour shackles. "A Top 5 finish this year would be great but the World Title is the goal," Jules said. "I had a pretty good start on the Gold Coast and hopefully I can back it up at Bells and keep the momentum up. The waves are pretty fun and I think today may be the smallest we get it through the window so hopefully we get to finish up in the Bells Bowl."
While perennial world title chasers Joel, Kelly and Mick all advanced, there was also a push from the younger end of the spectrum. Rookies Nat Young and Filipe Toledo both won their round one heats, as did sophomore Kolohe Andino, with a 17.14 heat total that included a 9.57 for a full-rote exclamation mark. "It's a weird dynamic on this tour as they're all your favourite surfers and you want to beat them," said Kolohe after beating Jordy Smith. "Jordy is one of my favourite surfers and CJ is so deadly. I'm having fun though. I feel like my surfing has improved a lot from last year. Hopefully we get good waves for the rest of the event."
Tune in tomorrow morning for first heat of round two: Taj Burrow and wildcard Jacob Willcox. Event site here.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.60, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.33, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.17
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.64, Kai Otton (AUS) 14.43, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.83
Heat 3: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.06, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.33, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.16
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.83, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.34, Oney Anwar (IDN) 7.60
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.20, Brett Simpson (USA) 10.20, Jack Perry (AUS) 8.87
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.03, Adam Melling (AUS) 15.50, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 10.17
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.33, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.60, Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.10
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.06, Dusty Payne (HAW) 14.20, Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.87
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) 16.43, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.90, Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.20
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.47, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.67, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.23
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.26, Glenn Hall (IRL) 13.77, Owen Wright (AUS) 13.73
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.14, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.90, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.76