Stab Magazine | Bells Day 1: Mick Stays Alive!

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Bells Day 1: Mick Stays Alive!

Fact: Michael Eugene Fanning will surf at least two more heats before he retires. 

news // Mar 30, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Bells, the CT’s grandfather of a surf contest, who couldn’t perform a Venmo transaction to save his life but could balance the shit out of a checkbook, started today. Watching from a couch on the other side of the world, Winkipop’s lines appeared slow and soft, but not altogether un-fun. Through studying the webcast, I was able to glean several heat-based insights in conjunction with larger professional surfing themes.

Would you indulge me, just this once, in a late-night contest wrap?

Defense loses championships
In Round 1 Heat 2 of the Women’s Rip Curl Pro, multi-Bells winner Stephanie Gilmore faced off against 2018 Snapper finalist Keely Andrew and a 10-year vet who still very much feels like a grom, Coco Ho. Perhaps relying too heavily on her seniority, Steph surfed her waves defensively, like she was hoping not to lose rather than trying to win. That might have worked for her between the years of 2007 and 2010, but in 2018 beta-surfing won’t fly. Coco wanted it more, and was rewarded with the W.

Lakey surfed like a man

Screen Shot 2018 03 30 at 2.15.30 AM

Sure, she looks sweet enough here, but show this gal a lurching lip and she’ll send you running for a rain coat. Photo: Moran

Is that a bad thing to say in 2018… that Lakey Peterson surfed like a man? It feels a little misogynistic coming off my fingers, but I have no better way to explain how aggressively and relentlessly Lakey attacked those Southern Ocean walls, especially on the last turn of her opening wave. It was truly amazing. Bourezian. Masculine. In a good way, of course.   

Caroline Marks is the new Occy
Long-haired, short-legged, and goofy (in both senses of the word), Caroline Marks-Ochillupo will win the 2018 Rip Curl Pro or my email isn’t wishingforwaves2 (it is). If her searing backside bottom-turn top-tun combos don’t slack your jaw, then we’re watching completely different sports.

Griffin Colapinto, 2018 World Champion

He just doesn’t fall off. 

In a post-qualification interview with Stab Magazine, Griffin said that while he felt confident in his air-reverse abilities, he felt that he still needed to work on his alleyoops. Based on what we saw today that’s totally true, but I also think Griffin will be fine if he never masters the inward rotation. He’s good enough at everything else that it doesn’t really matter.

Griff’s taking down Filipe at head-high Winkipop might have surprised some, but for those who listened to the most recent Lipped Podcast, wherein local standout Cahill Bell-Warren declared Griffin Colapinto the best surfer he’s ever seen at Winki, the outcome of this heat was not so unbelievable after all. Also, if my maths are correct, Griffin will most likely win the world title this year.

The Pottz conundrum
Why does Matin Potter, 1989 World Champ and high school bully to Joe Turpel, have such a hard-on for safety surfing?

The answer is simple: Throughout the ‘80s, Pottz was considered one of the world’s most talented and radical waveriders, but every year he came up short of the title, mostly due to a lack of consistency in his competitive approach. Then in ‘89 he decided to tone his surfing down a notch, say about 25%, which resulted in the biggest benchmark of his competitive career–a World Title. With this context in mind, you can understand Pottz why would cling to the notion that lowering your performance standards will to competitive heights.

Screen Shot 2018 03 30 at 2.15.40 AM

Jordy practices for Title #1 with a nice, 75% bottom turn. Photo: Moran

But in 2018, that’s just not gonna cut it. In fact, two of the first three mens heats today were won with Miracle Rotations. And the proud owner of Miracle Rotation #2, Jordy Smith, who is accustomed to performing three cutbacks to the tune of 9-point rides, would never have been forced to throw that spin in 2017, which is why I’m glad Pritamo is the new head judge and not Martin Potter.

Although, poor Patty G…

The World Champ is far too generous

Screen Shot 2018 03 30 at 2.15.50 AM

Give us the grunt, Johnny! Photo: Moran

After what happened against Mikey Wright, you’d think the John would’ve learned his lesson about forfeiting priority, but… nope! In the opening minutes of his heat, John sat wide on the shoulder, allowing an actual child (16-year-old Mikey McDonagh) and another person who looks like a child (30-year-old Tomas Hermes) to take whatever waves they pleased. Luckily for John these free rides didn’t amount to much, but I wouldn’t count on that to always being the case. Because frankly, Mikey put on one hell of a performance for a kid his age, and it could be argued that Tomas Hermes performed the best turn of the heat, and maybe the day, but was unjustly detained by the rolling Victorian whitewash. So John, get a little aggro, would ya?

The new scale
Hey guys, it’s not just us–professional surfers like the new scale too! In their post heat interviews, both John and Owen noted the value of “dropping the scale” and noted that while it won’t affect the outcome of heats, it will motivate the athletes to surf more aggressively. In fact, I think this might be one of those rare moments in policy-change history where there are no losers (except for Porta, I guess). Hooray!

World Number One


Julian hasn’t been surfing very much (remember, the shoulder?), so here’s a picture of him looking dapper at Mick’s party.

For the majority of his Round 1 heat, Julian Wilson, cloaked in the king’s yellow, looked utterly disinterested in competitive surfing. He was going through the motions of cutbacks and floaters, but there was no energy, no spark. Then, in the dying minutes, realizing he needed only a low-4 to win his heat, Julian’s competitive drive kicked in, momentarily silencing his shoulder pain and allowing him to surf like a champion.

Like a guy who deserves to wear the yellow jersey.

While it’s clear that Julian’s not all there at the moment, physically or otherwise, that’s not to say he’ll be an easy defeat. Give this guy an inch and he’ll take a mile. Or a Bell.

The man of the hour 


I went to Mick’s retirement party and all I got was this stupid bobbler!

Mick survived the first day of his last contest by not surfing whatsoever. He’ll be in the fourth heat tomorrow morning when they resume Round 1 of competition. 


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