Critics Be Damned! Bells Pumped Today!
Courtney Conlogue and Wilko gas it at flawless Bells.
Bells was absolutely creamy today and the action didn’t disappoint. Courtney Conlogue dropped a 9.03 on top of a mid seven to claim the women’s title. Ratings leader Matt Wilkinson continued his sublime run of form, throwing down a 9.57 on his final wave to eliminate fellow Australian Julian Wilson from the event in round five.
Courts was at home on the groomed walls and stiff offshores, clocking the nine with a vicious two-turn combo in the bowl followed by a bonus double-tag on the closeout.
“It was nice to have some swell and open lines to show finesse and power… I was trying to be heavy footed but also set the rail,” she said. “I think that was key today, setting the rail and laying into your turns.”
The win puts her 2800 points ahead of the field in first place heading into the Margaret River Pro, while runner-up Sally Fitzgibbons moves up one spot to sixth.
“I love it when my opponents are at their best,” said Sally. “Courtney was in great form and going out and trying to better that, I revel in that challenge. I can’t wait to push my level and get better and better.” Sally also dedicated her performance to friend and fellow south coast surfer, Brett Conellan, who was attacked by a shark two days ago.
In the mens, Wilko waited until the last wave of a slow heat with Julian Wilson to unleash a lightning run of loose, fast and pivoted backside blasts for a 9.57 and a tie-break win.
“That was pretty scary score to need,” said Wilko. “If you need a flat nine, you’re sitting out there going, ‘if a good wave comes I’m gonna get this.’ But a high nine is pretty scary. That wave was so perfect, though. I just connected with every section, and I felt like I surfed it as good as I could have.”
He lines up against fellow goofy Wiggolly Dantas in the quarterfinals, where he’ll have a chance to extend his ratings lead on the field. Though a win over close friend and long time Junior Series adversary Julian, in pumping Bells, will live long in the memory.
“When the waves come they’re unbelievable,” said Wilko. “It’s so clean and the lines, you never really get lines that long anywhere in the world, except for maybe J-Bay.”
In other results, Nat Young threw down a similarly spectacular series of backside stabs to rack up a nine and put wildcard Mason Ho to the sword. He takes on Brazilian goofy Italo Ferreira in heat one of the quarters. While in the remaining round five heats, Mick Fanning takes on Davey Cathels (heat three) and Caio Ibelli lines up against Jordy Smith (heat four). The event is expected to resume in similarly clean and sizey conditions tomorrow or Sunday.
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