Stab Magazine | Can Anyone Beat John At Bells?

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Can Anyone Beat John At Bells?

Will a power display claim victory or, like the Gold Coast, will Bells have the cleanest windshield in its 50-year-plus history? 

news // Apr 12, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Margs, suddenly, became a pretty sick wave thanks to JJF and Jordy. JJF made that sloppy wall look like it was a Lowers skate park… Because of that performance, I’ve had to change the way I do these picks. The dominance John displayed made me think he might just be the world champ for the next three years running – if that’s his desire. Bells and Margs have a similar clumsy face and rolls in at a similar grade. Bells, however, has less water moving which means John can turn even harder. John’s my first pick since he’ll probably win; the rest are the select few who’re capable of taking him down.


Last year John exited in round three to Caio Ibelli, but if the past two events are any indication of John’s level of surfing post world title, then we’re just making the call for runner-ups.

John John Florence.
Realistically who’s going to beat this guy? He just put on the best display of surfing and string of heats in the last five years I’m calling. Beyond the carves, the airs he was doing day to day at cobblestones was incredible. He seems to draw a different line on the softer walls like Margs or Bells and I imagine we’ll be seeing a very similar version of the carve we’ve all been losing out shit over.


Jordy consitently finishes in the quarters or above at Bells. Last year, he lost to Wilko in the final. His rail at Bells is the disruption on the Torquay knoll.  

Jordy Smith.
Possibly the only guy that could beat John out there. Out at Margs, he was the only one that could match JJF for power but unfortunately was stopped Kolohe’s two tubes. Jordy is possibly the best surfer at Bells to never have won the event, and if he wants to have a real shot at the title this year he’ll need to win Bells or at the worst make the final.


Mick told Stab in a recent interview that after his year-long sabbatical that after last year, waiting around for heats just isn’t ticking his boxes. We assume he’s dreaming of “The Snake”. 

Mick Fanning.
Not quite the come back we all expected this far, his surfing in and around the events has been flawless but a few bad heats wave wise, coupled with a bad seed and Mick is off his game a bit. Since Simon Anderson, Mick is probably the best surfer ever out at Bells. A win here could be the boost he needs to commit 100 percent to the tour and winning another title.



Jules is that gent you keep putting on your team and cursing your decision… Time to make the same mistake! 

Julian Wilson.
Purely a numbers game. Loses 1000 times, wins once. His ability is also up there with Jordy and John’s on the rail and in the air. Something is going to click sooner or later, or he’s going to go postal and quit because he can’t keep having such highs and lows. Bells fits the speed of his surfing a lot more than Snapper and the surfing he did in 2014 (when he beat Jordy in that incredible heat) would still stand strong against JJF’s performance last week. 


At Snapper, Zeke proved he won’t be another Hawaiian cursed to only having success in big, powerful waves. A dirty horizon beckons for his arrival. 

Ezekiel Lau.
His turns are huge, and the spray he throws is up there with Bourez and Jordy. One of the few things he struggles with is flow but I think Bells is one of those waves where you can get away with your flow not being great, it worked for Nat Young in his early days on tour because it’s all about the two big turns and a finishing move. I think, like the Brazilians that come on tour, Zeke has a lot of confidence and isn’t afraid of anyone.


Andy this, Andy that… dammit Ethan, channel the 3x world champ! 

Ethan Ewing.
It’s been a disappointing start for Ethan. He came out the gates firing on his first wave, but since then he hasn’t been able to step up and get a good result. Ethan is a smart, calculated surfer who has the big match temperament to perform under pressure which often happens at Bells due to its big lulls and buzzer beater opportunities. Plus, who doesn’t want to see that Andy-esque approach on the Bells walls?



Prediction: Gabs botches a flip, injures knee, comes back at 70 percent and puts up two nines…


Goofy Pick: Gabs Medina
If I had to choose a goofy, it’d be Gabs. He’s so much more powerful than anyone else on their back hand. Sure not as pretty as Owen and Wilko but his turns are bigger and he’s more solid on his board. I’m also pretty sure after John’s performance at Margs, he’s hyped up to show that he’s still a threat.

*Oh and did anyone just see that Glyndyn Ringrose is the wild card, holy shit, classic!

Round One Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson, Mick Fanning, Jadson Andre

Heat 2: Owen Wright, Miguel Pupo, Ezekiel Lau

Heat 3: Gabriel Medina, Stuart Kennedy, Leonardo Fioravanti

Heat 4: Jordy Smith, Kanoa Igarashi, Nat Young

Heat 5: Kolohe Andino, Jack Freestone, Samuel Pupo

Heat 6: John John Florence, Jeremy Flores, Glyndyn Ringrose
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza, Caio Ibelli, Joan Duru

Heat 8: Kelly Slater, Josh Kerr, Ian Gouveia

Heat 9: Michel Bourez, Connor O’Leary, Ethan Ewing

Heat 10: Joel Parkinson, Adrian Buchan, Frederico Morais
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo, Conner Coffin, Bede Durbidge

Heat 12: Julian Wilson, Sebastian Zietz, Wiggolly Dantas


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