Stab Magazine | 7 men to bet on at the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach:

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7 men to bet on at the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach:

A few notes from Snapper, first. Other than Filipe, who would’ve won had he not been injured mid semi, I had a bit of a rough result with my set of picks. Much like a few of the surfers on tour, I had come into Snapper with my confidence soaring. But it was so quickly […]

news // Mar 21, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

A few notes from Snapper, first. Other than Filipe, who would’ve won had he not been injured mid semi, I had a bit of a rough result with my set of picks. Much like a few of the surfers on tour, I had come into Snapper with my confidence soaring. But it was so quickly ripped away and my next set of claims might come with a bit less conviction. Everyone seemed shocked by Stu Kennedy, almost as though everyone thought that he came from nowhere. Stu has been surfing the same for the last four years and has always been a huge talent, but for some reason, at Snapper it all clicked for him and he shocked everyone and got third. Would he be able to beat Gabs, John John and Kelly again? I doubt it, but it made for exciting viewing. Bede in the booth was a nice addition, too. He provided real insight and I’d like to see the WSL keep him in the booth for the next few events. Maybe actually in the booth and not at that big slab of wood.

Surf-wise, the upcoming week at Bells looks dismal, but so did Snapper beforehand and it ended up being fairly exciting and more than contestable. Bells will excite and I’m really thrilled Rip Curl threw Mason Ho in the mix again. For Bells, I’m mostly going with the gents that underachieved at Snapper.


Mick 4

Yeah, this man will wanna step out on a good note. Photo: WSL

Mick Fanning.
From all accounts, he was surfing the Super Bank the best out of anyone by far. Obviously. Although He recently announced that he’ll be taking the year off after Bells, it didn’t for one second look like he wasn’t interested. That’s not to say he isn’t a new Mick Fanning, because after his first round heat at Snapper he went straight to Rainbow Bay surf club and knocked off four or five schooners of his own beer, Balter. Mick then threw the victory party for Wilko at his crib and footed the whole bill for booze, security, catering and everything else. LEGEND. This will be Mick’s last event for a while so it would be a great way to go off with a win.


Julian Cestari

Julian and Bells is a good groove. WSL/Cestari

Julian Wilson.
I didn’t put Julian in my Snapper picks because I really don’t think the wave suits the tempo of his surfing. He’s a bit slower and more drawn out, while Snapper is fast and tight. He’ll always place there and possibly win it down the road because of his amazing talent, but Bells is a much better wave for him. His delayed bottom turn to fast and powerful top turn or carve allows him to get the best part of the wave or bowl at Bells. He’s also got BMT which is a good thing at bells because sometimes with the lulls you won’t get your second score until the very end of the heat. Julian is just sorta good at everything, not the best at any one thing in particular (like say Filipe at airs or John in the barrel), but this is what it takes to win titles. First event with a coach didn’t go as planned but neither did first event for a lot of the surfers that recently brought on coaches.



Jordy brings the thunder at Bells. Never forget the 9.9. WSL

Jordy Smith.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and right now that performance at Snapper would have almost killed Jordy. From every report it wasn’t a case of Jordy’s surfing out at the bank, because apparently I wasn’t the only one predicting a big result. It was his first event with Chris Gallagher and I think this time around they will be gelling a bit better. Jordy will be staying with Kerrzy at Bells and they have a good energy together. Kerr has to work a lot harder at his surfing than Jordy does and I think seeing this inspires Jordy and keeps him surfing a lot. For Jordy, the more time he’s in the water than on the beach, the better.

Any doubts about the big fella? Just go and watch his 9.9 against Julian at Bells again. Still one of the best waves ever surfed out there…


Conner Kirstin

Conner is like a fresh, minty breeze, swirling through the World Tour. WSL/Kirstin

Conner Coffin.
Watching him at Snapper was a lot of fun. He was like a combination of Dane Reynolds and Taylor Knox. He had the raw power of Dane and the arcs of Taylor. His surfing looked unpredictable and I think he realised he’s capable of beating the best. Which is something that sometimes takes rookies a bit of time to truly believe. Conner has this sort of glitch or spaz out when he’s winding up for a turn or half way through the turn that is really rad. It might be a flaw that he fixes or maybe he runs with it and that’s what separates him from everyone else. Nat used to have this triple pump bottom turn that I hated, but then he sorted it out and now I kinda miss it. Brad Gerlach will be there with Conner coaching and supporting which might add some valuable knowledge on his approach to The Bowl.



Kerrzy doesn’t sleep on rail improvement. Photo: WSL

Josh Kerr.
Josh is never normally on the losing side of slow heats but at Snapper he was and he lost to a surfer with a similar skill set in that kinda surf to him. Kerr is a wave magnet and beyond that he knows how to read lineups and choose good waves really well. He can pick a wave that will suit his surfing, which isn’t always the best wave but he makes us think it was because of his ability. Josh’s rail game has improved and every time I doubt his air game something will pop up on social media that blows me away.


Jeremy Kelly Cestari

Jeremy tends to competitively excel in waves like this. WSL/Kelly Cestari

Jeremy Flores.
Jeremy always does really well at Bells. Despite losing early to Kanoa, Jeremy is surfing great, and, what a difference JS Surfboards has made to his surfing. In the last year Jeremy’s surfing has really progressed, as has his attitude. He has this quick bottom turn and really drawn out top turn carve at Bells, which looks really sick. He also does this one-footed layback when he gets to the end section, which most guys struggle with, but Jeremy just makes it work. It’s like he just hopes for the best and voila, it all comes together. I predict a quarters or better for Jeremy.


Italo Kirstin

Amazing what a sponsorship change can do. Italo looked even more poppy at Snapper. WSL/Kirstin

Italo Ferreira.
Although he lost early, I thought Italo looked like the best goofy out at Snapper. He was floating over sections throwing his tail out and it looks like his style has improved, but maybe it’s just that fresh Billabong sticker. This guy is so solid on his board and although this term gets thrown around a lot he’s a top 10 surfer and will be for years to come. He’s young but mature in his approach. He just looks like he isn’t going to fall, he’s one of those guys that makes you want to go out and get a board from his shaper. Big Bells walls or small onshore, Italo will be good.


Oh, and: I would have put Filipe in for Bells had he not been injured. The way he was holding his rail in all the way through his carves at Snapper was amazing and any kind of breezy to light onshore Bells, it would have been near impossible to beat him.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), TBD
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW), TBD
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), TBD
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (HAW)
Heat 10: Nat Young (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA)

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Chelsea Tuach (BRB)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS), TBD
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 6: Joanne Defay (FRA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)


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