PHOTO: Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, former two-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner, continued his devastating form today for Round 3.
BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger hit the water early this morning, taking advantage of the clean three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves rolling into the Bells Bowl.
The second stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach completed Round 3 of both the men’s and women’s event today, with the surfers putting in inspired performances despite deteriorating conditions throughout the day.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, former two-time Rip Curl Pro Bells winner, showed why he’s always a threat on the Bells Bowl, carving up the long walls with his trademark casual style to eliminate Frenchman Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22. Parkinson punctuated the heat with an excellent wave, scoring 9.2 (out of a possible 10) on the buzzer.
“Bells is a different event,” Parkinson said. “At other events you measure your performance by what someone did earlier in the day, but at Bells the conditions will be so different in two heats time, it’ll look like a totally different wave. It’s the kind of spot where you only try to better your own performance and don’t worry about anyone else’s.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, scraped through a quiet heat against wildcard Stu Kennedy (AUS), 21. The four-time past winner of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach only managed a heat total of 11.34 (out of a possible 20), but still managed to advance past the Australian into Round 4 of competition.
“I got some small ones just to get a score on the board,” Slater said. “I thought that there would be some sets later in the heat, but nothing came. It was just one of those heats, I’ve had a whole lot like that out here, sometimes there are long lulls. I can’t do much worse than that and make it through a heat. I like to have my bad heats early and get my good ones later.”
Adriano De Souza (BRA), 24, admitted to visiting Bells two weeks prior to the event to acclimate to the surrounds and the preparation reaped dividends today when the Brazilian eliminated Round 1 standout Adam Melling (AUS), 26 in the second heat of the day.
“This is my sixth time competing at this event,” De Souza said. “Each year I learn more about this place and apply it in my heats. I even came early to get my boards ready and get used to the water. I just want to push myself and get a big result here.”
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, bounced back after scraping through a low scoring heat yesterday. Hobgood took down an in-form Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, by scoring two 8-point rides.
“It’s been a while since I’ve put a solid heat together,” Hobgood said. “You don’t get too many opportunities out there, so when one pops up you have to jam it as much as you can, because if you don’t and you miss that section, you’re going to get to the beach and only score a 3. I have so much respect for Wilko (Matt Wilkinson), he’s been surfing so good, I was telling him how much he’s been inspiring me to have fun.”
Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, put on the most powerful performance of the day, dominating his heat against Californian Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 25. Bourez blasted his way to a huge heat total of 17.67
“Bells is a tricky wave,” Bourez said. “It’s really hard to find the right waves, you need to focus and spend a lot of time in the water here. I just decided to wait for the best ones and I think if you wait they come to you. When I was a kid I used to look up to Kelly Slater and Taylor Knox the most because of their power. Now I’m on tour surfing against them both which is such a good thing for me.”
Following men’s competition today, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta completed the non-elimination Round 3 with Silvana Lima (BRA), 26, Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 23, and Coco Ho (HAW), 19, all winning their respective heats and advancing through to the Quarterfinals.
Lima’s high heat total for the round, a 16.00 out of a possible 20, garnered the fleet-footed Brazilian the Telstra Power Round award of $5,000.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by FORD will be available via www.live.ripcurl.com and broadcast live on Fuel TV in Australia and ESPN in Brazil.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com