Stab Magazine | Bells Day 2: Kelly Hopes Mick Comes Second
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Bells Day 2: Kelly Hopes Mick Comes Second

A day of elimination at the not so superb, Bells Bowl. 

news // Apr 1, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Twelve hours, 22 heats, and 347 rail-bogs later, Day two of the 2018 Rip Curl Pro Bells has come to a close. It began with Kolohe, Willian, and Frederico trading lumpy rights into a piercing sun and concluded with Tati and Malia slogging it out to avoid a 13th place finish.

Having consumed the better (and worst) part(s) of my waking hours, Bells has earned itself a few harsh insights from a day I will certainly never get back. Below are the few things that mattered from the day.

A little extra meat on the bones can’t hurt Photo. Cestari/WSL

Kolohe’s Curse

After six years on the CT, Kolohe Andino has never advanced past Round 3 at Bells. Rondawg Blakey was surprised to hear that little factoid, stating that someone of Kolohe’s pedigree and variety of repertoire and should find plenty of success at the Bowl. What Ronnie failed to recognize is that Kolohe, as talented as he may be, has a sharp-angled approach that’s better suited to tight pockets than it is the flat, stretched-out walls of Bells Beach.

Recognizing this gap in his skill set, Kolohe has been working in deep-water waves as much as possible, particularly at Sunset Beach in Hawaii, which he now considers one of his favorite waves in the world. In addition to that, he’s also been building muscle mass, which he hopes will give his turns more of an effortless power, allowing him to move water in a more controlled/less spastic fashion.

While Kolohe’s surfing will never fully lose its tight, whippy nature, he’s been showing signs of physically maturing. In his Round 1 heat, Kolohe took down Brazilian powerhouse Willian Cardoso with a broad, sweeping carve back into the Bowl, which is exactly what he’s been working so hard to achieve.  

The only problem? Kolohe faces the Archbishop of power surfing, Michel Bourez, in Round 3.

Maybe he is cursed.

Mick the Beloved

The only noteworthy fact of Mick Fanning’s Round 1 heat were the 37,000 people on the beach to watch it. As an American, I found this a difficult concept to grasp.

At the height of his powers, Kelly Slater was known by maybe 1 in 10,000 U.S. citizens. Maybe. Alternatively, it seems every single Australian subject has had a meaningful personal encounter with the 3x Champ. The shark thing may have multiplied Mick’s fame, but the amount of people that showed up for his 8:30 am Round 1 heat is quite revealing of his importance to this sport, and to his country.

Kelly was right – everybody likes Mick. And god will he be missed.

 Speaking of Kelly…

He showed up in the booth today, twice! Wedged between Mel and Blakey, and then Joe and Pottz, a smartly-dressed Kelly had several opinions to share.

A welcomed commentary relief the King.

On how he’d feel about Mick winning this week, which would bring the Australian’s total number of Bells to five, eclipsing Slater’s four: “I would love to see Mick get second, that would be great [laughs]. No, but it would be really cool to see Mick win both his first and last events here. Although, this definitely isn’t Mick’s last competing at Bells. He’ll get the wildcard next year for sure. I mean, right?”

On Filipe Toledo: “Filipe is most exciting pro surfer in the world right now. Every time he goes in the water, you know you’re gonna get some crazy fin throws or airs or whatever. The thing is, he didn’t need to do that today, but he did, and that made him vulnerable. That’s also why he’s so fun to watch though.”

On his REAL first wave at the pool: “I got too greedy and tried to fade back, but then I was stuck behind the section and had to watch it run off without me. That was my first wave in the pool. My second wave was the one you saw on the video.”

On Caroline Marks (off camera, as reported by Ronnie): “I think she’s gonna win an event this year.”

On Bells: Bells is kind of like Makaha–it’s a mushy wave with lots of power behind it. For years I pushed for them to run the event at Winki, but because of government regulations and the amphitheater effect at the Bowl, it didn’t really happen.

Which segues into my personal opinion on the CT venue…

Do end section re-entries excite you? Photo. Sloane/WSL

Bells is just not a good wave

After 53 years on tour, the old gal is visibly tired. No longer does she radiate the spice or spunk necessary to entice the CT’s youngest suitors. Her once-voluptuous body has become flattened with time, her face eternally wrinkled, her lips a crusty relic of the times she seduced MP, MR, and Occy.

After all, how long can a “legacy” venue be justified as a legitimate CT stop? With Mick leaving after this year, I can’t think of a reason for the Bells event to stay, and with the Tour structure shifting in 2019, there’s never been a more logical time to leave.  

And do you know how I know I’m right about this? After watching the vast majority of heats today, I can say without a hint of sarcasm that the most exciting moments came in the form of chop hops. Yes, chop hops.  

After a few of their better rides, two of my favorite Brazilian flyboys, Filipe and Italo, busted out celebratory jumps in the flats. Both Filipe’s frontside 180 and Italo’s poppy shuv-its evoked more emotion and surprise than any limp-dicked lipper or halfhearted carve. This all comes back to the fact that Bells doesn’t allow for world class surfing in 2018.

Jesse Mendes surfs a lot like his girlfriend

Goofy footer, buoyant surfboard, arms out, wide stance, sturdy. If Jesse and Tati had a baby, I’d bet my bottom dollar that it would produce, in the words of Joey T: “Clean, consistent backside projections.”

Sally down!

Serial smiler and perennial title bridesmaid, Sally Fitzgibbons, lost to wildcard Kobie Enright in her Round 2 heat this afternoon. On the bright side, Sally’s penchant for consistency has led to more harm than good throughout her career. For instance, last season, if all 10 women’s events counted toward the end of season rankings (as opposed to just the top 8), Sally would have won the 2017 World Title. That… stings. So perhaps she’s just trying to shake things up with an early-season 13th. Which reminds me of this historic moment in film:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9HVejEB5uVk

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Round 1 Results:
Heat 9:
 Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.63, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.53, Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.26
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.00, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 8.40, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 7.53
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.33, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.90, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 8.50
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.03,  Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.27 , Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.70

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 2 Results:
Heat 1:
 Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.50 def. Carl Wright (AUS) 8.33
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.57 def. Mikey McDonagh (AUS) 8.87
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.17 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.43
Heat 4: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 14.33 def. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.03
Heat 5: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.43 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.00
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 7.73 def. Michael February (ZAF) 6.43
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA)11.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.84
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) 13.74 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 13.64
Heat 9: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.36 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.33
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.83 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.73
Heat 11: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 14.00 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.70
Heat 12: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.26 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.80

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: 
Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: 
Caroline Marks (USA) 13.66 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.50 
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.14 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 10.93
Heat 3: Kobie Enright (AUS) 11.60 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.34
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.03 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.36
Heat 5: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.83 def. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.50
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.93 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.93

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: 
Carissa Moore (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Kobe Enright (AUS)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Caroline Marks (USA)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Coco Ho (HAW)

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