As The Mid-Year Cut Looms, Surfers Are Getting Testy - Stab Mag

As The Mid-Year Cut Looms, Surfers Are Getting Testy

Day 2 of Bells sees costly bungles and more celebs grace the Bells stairway.

news // Apr 12, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Bells day 2 wrapped today. Here’s the gist of it:

  • Men and Women surfed at Winki and Bells, respectively. Conditions: head high, onshore, 4/10.
  • Conner Coffin, Matt McGillivray, Betty-Lou Sakura, and Molly Picklum eliminated. All were on or below the mid-year cut line and will need a huge result at Margaret River to stay on tour.
  • 4x Bell-ringer Mick Fanning escapes elimination, Moves into round 3.
  • Current World #5 Seth Moniz takes his first 33rd of the season.
  • Steph makes a priority blunder in R1H4, deemed not an interference.
  • Barron Mamiya looks fucking deadly.
The Brazilian Storm would not meet the 50-Year Storm today. Photo: Ed Sloane/WSL

The mid-year cut

After Margaret River, the bottom 12 men and 7 women will fall off tour, missing the final five events of the 2022 CT including J-Bay, El Salvador, G-Land, Teahupoo, and Rio. Ouch. The slice was brought up many times today to contextualize what a loss here means and, by extension, why this event is worth watching. 

As swell conditions improved (slightly) from yesterday, we moved into the elimination rounds. The men surfed Winki, the women surfed Bells. It was rippable, but slow. Action-wise, the best performances went to the ladies, in particular Johanne Defay, who nabbed the highest heat total of the day — a 16.67 for two waves she milked to the inside bricks. 

Losers of the elimination round on the women’s side include: Molly Picklum who is currently #11 (outside the MYC [mid-year cut]) and Bettylou Sakura Johnson, who is ranked #14. On the men’s side wildcard local Tully Wylie, Seth Moniz, Matt McGillivray, and Conner Coffin all fell out of the mix. Matt currently sitting in #27 and will need to win at Margs and/or start planning his CS schedule if he wants to surf at Pipe in 2023.

Good news for Matt? The first CS event is at Snapper — a wave that suits his surfing well. Photo: Ed Sloane/WSL

Conner, currently tied with five people in #18, will need a keeper result in Margs if he hopes to make the MYC. “It felt kinda unnecessary to run this really important round of the MYC in waves like this… It’s a bummer… It sucks,” he said post-loss. Imaikalani deVault, Jadson Andre, and Morgan Cibilic all narrowly escaped the same fate. 

Finally, shoutout to Barron Mamiya who left a bit of daylight between himself and Ethan/Morgz. “This guy is world-class, the results are coming,” said Ron Blakey. Hard to find a chink in his armour. Big waves, small waves, tubes, turns, punts… and you have to think the back half of the season suits him better.


  • Peak performances: Johanne Defay R1H6 (16.67), Connor O’Leary R2H4 (14.83)
  • Hit replay: Men’s R1H12, R2H1, R2H2. Women’s R1H1, R1H5, R1H6, R2H2
  • Monster maneuver: Bettylou Sakura’s layback (R2H2) 
  • One-liner: “I’m gonna ring the bell in Margs” – Molly Picklum

Johanne Defay hadn’t won a Round 1 heat in any of the past three events. Today, she won her round 1 heat by a 4-point margin, picking off two of the biggest waves of the day in which she cracked in the lip repeatedly. On the men’s side, Connor O’Leary put together the best wave for a spicy backhand combo in round 2, which had the Swellians on their feet. 

Monster maneuver goes to Bettylou’s layback in Round 2 Heat 2, which she ended up losing after allowing Courtney Conlogue to get the best wave of the heat under priority. Rookie mistake, if you will. Mol Picklum and Bettylou losing out early is a major bummer — they’re two of the most exciting female talents and have a lot of untapped potential. Mol took her loss like a champion, “I’m going to head over to WA early now that I have the time and try to ring the Bell there.”

Onya Mol. 

Photo: Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League


  • In the soup: Conner Coffin R2H3, Matt McGillivray, R2H4 Molly Picklum R2H1, Bettylou Sakura R2H2
  • Blind mice: Not calling an interference in women’s R1H4

Should the event have run today? Well, there’s a lot more surfing to do and not a whole lot of time. Friday looks good, otherwise conditions will most likely be more of the same. 

I wouldn’t call this controversial but I would call it interesting. In R1H4 Steph took off behind rookie Molly Picklum, who had priority, with one minute remaining. Tom Whittaker’s (Steph’s coach) hands immediately went to his head. It was a blatant priority bungle. Steph didn’t interfere with the wave’s scoring potential, but neither did Kelly when he copped his interference at Sunset. In the end, the blunder went unpenalized. “I thought I might have got an interference call at the end there,” she said in her post-heat interview. Me too. 

It was inconsistent with their assessment in Sunset. Did the WSL judges decide that interference penalties should actually require interfering with a wave’s potential? Or did Steph get special treatment? Kelly, throw the book at ’em.

Ash Barty, at what is (by most accounts) not a tennis tour. Photo: Aaron Hughes/WSL


Yesterday we had race car drivers, today we had 3x Grand Slam winners decorating the Bells staircase. The recently retired Ash Barty exchanged cute pleasantries with Mick and Steph and told viewers about her distaste for sand. 

Ain’t That Swell, surfing’s most successful podcast hosted by Jed Smith and Vaughan Blakey held the ‘swellian army’ event in Torquay Hotel last night. The panel featured 3x World Champ Mick Fanning, Portugal CT winner Griffin Colapinto, and local CT superstar India Robinson. Erik Logan, also in attendance, was reportedly called on stage where he was booed. Today the Swellian army were out in full force with trumpets and tridents cheering on their favorite surfers from Winki carpark. “We don’t care who wins, so long as someone wins the Bell,” Vaughan told Laura Enever on the broadcast.

Sounds like E-Lo has copped enough heat in Torquay, but his footwear choice today cannot be ignored. 

Excuse me?

Gamble Ramble

Mikey C’s on fire, 6/8 in Round 1 on

  • Kolohe Andino over Jack Robinson and Jadson Andre at +150 (I bet $20 to return $50) WIN 
  • Gabriela Bryan over Lakey Peterson and Courtney Conlogue at +400 (I bet $10 to return $50) WIN 
  • Bettylou Sakura Johnson over Malia Manuel and Tyler Wright at +325 (I best $5 to return $21.25) LOSS
  • Leonardo Fioravanti over Griffin Colapinto and Mikey Wright at +300 (I bet $5 to return $20) WIN 
  • Samuel Pupo over Filipe Toledo and Mick Fanning at +450 (I bet $5 to return $27.50) WIN 
  • Jackson Baker over John Florence and Connor O’Leary at +350 (I bet $5 to return $22.50) WIN 
  • Joao Chianca over Conner Coffin and Caio Ibelli at +275 (I bet $5 to return $18.75) WIN 
  • Molly Picklum over Steph Gilmore and Brisa Hennessy at +250 (I bet $5 to return $17.50) LOSS

Winnings: $188.75

Round 3 picks are as follows:

Make your picks here.


Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Opening Round 1 (H9-12) Results: 
HEAT 9: Joao Chianca (BRA) 11.93 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.33, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.10
HEAT 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.93 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.16, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.13
HEAT 11: Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.27 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.90, Jake Marshall (USA) 10.84
HEAT 12: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 13.00 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.33, Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 8.17

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Women’s Opening Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 14.40 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.07, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.16
HEAT 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.10 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 13.60, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.06
HEAT 3: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 13.70 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.14, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 8.34
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.16 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 11.16, Molly Picklum (AUS) 10.20
HEAT 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.67 DEF. India Robinson (AUS) 12.53, Luana Silva (HAW) 11.00
HEAT 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.20 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.84, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 0.50

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Elimination Round 2 Results: 
HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.37 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.03, Tully Wylie (AUS) 10.34
HEAT 2: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 14.84 DEF. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.90, Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.90
HEAT 3: Nat Young (USA) 13.34 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 10.93, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.83
HEAT 4: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.83 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 11.17, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 9.77

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Women’s Elimination Round 2 Results: 
HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.10 DEF. Alyssa Spencer (USA) 13.33, Molly Picklum (AUS) 9.50
HEAT 2: Luana Silva (HAW) 12.16 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.84, Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 11.76

Jack Robinson did not win his heat, but he did wear a short-arm in Victoria in April. Photo: Ed Sloane/WSL



  • HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
  • HEAT 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Nat Young (USA)
  • HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jackson Baker (AUS)
  • HEAT 4: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER)
  • HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
  • HEAT 6: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
  • HEAT 7: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Joao Chianca (BRA)
  • HEAT 8: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Morgan Cibilic (AUS)
  • HEAT 9: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
  • HEAT 10: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
  • HEAT 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
  • HEAT 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
  • HEAT 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
  • HEAT 14: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
  • HEAT 15: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
  • HEAT 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)


  • HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
  • HEAT 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
  • HEAT 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
  • HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
  • HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Alyssa Spencer (USA)
  • HEAT 6: India Robinson (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
  • HEAT 7: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Luana Silva (HAW)
  • HEAT 8: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)


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