It's been just over a week since we saw Italo Ferreira defeat Kolohe Andino to take out the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks. Now we head south to historic Bells Beach for the Rip Curl Pro, proceedings start on Wednesday, April 17th.
When I think of the Bells Beach contest I think of the goofy footer from New South Wales Mark Occhilupo taking out the 1998 event with his huge bottom turns and then hitting the lip with power and authority. Or Andy Irons going back to back in 2002-2003 or even Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning who both have won the event four times. The Rip Curl Pro contest feels like a grand slam in tennis, it has that type of significance and is honour in the surfing world.
Italo Ferreira rang the 2018 bell last year as he defeated Mick Fanning in his last Bells event ever. Italo has started as strong as ever this year after taking out the event on the Gold Coast just over a week ago. After seeing his performance in the first event for the year, he could easily go back to back at Bells this year. His fellow countrymen have also started well this year. Gabriel Medina is yet to win at Bells, his best finish was last year when Ferreira beat him in the semi finals. Medina was back to his old tricks on the Gold Coast, looking unstoppable at times.
We welcomed back John John Florence and Kelly Slater to the action last week at the first event of the year. Florence ended his luck against Andino in the Semi finals but looked solid as ever. Just like Medina, Florence is yet to win at Bells but has the perfect mix of cutbacks and aerials to take the next step. Slater bombed out in the second round and struggled to find the right scoring waves. Slater is a veteran at Bells can he wind back the clock?
Ezekiel Lau has turned a few heads over the last two contests at Bells. Lau has lost both his first round heats but has bounced back to make the finals in the previous two years. The Hawaiian is ranked 17 this year and has a round one matchup with Italo Ferreira and Caio Ibelli.
Even though Wade Carmichael is in his late 20s he still feels like a rookie since his only been Pro for a short time, but the 2018 rookie of the year is looking better each year and has the ability to take out Bells in the near future. Carmichael bombed out in the fourth round last year but his style of surfing suits the south oz point break.
With the Rip Curl Pro just around the corner who has the fitness, determination and patience to take out the Pro? Will it be the likes of Medina, Wilson, Florence or will Colapinto, Coffin or Carmichael be the new champion?
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