Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, reigning and three-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach champion, will be back to defend his title in the coming weeks at the second stop on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour season, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger.
BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia – The world’s best surfers are descending upon the Australian state of Victoria for the second stop on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour season, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger, to be held from April 3 – 14, 2012.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, reigning and three-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner, is a perennial threat for the ASP World Title and regarded as one of the most gifted surfers to ever step foot on a board. The stylish natural-footer is one of the heavy favorites heading into next week’s event.
“I’m really excited with the forecast looking pretty good right now,” Parkinson said. “With Bells, it’s less of a progressive wave and more of a traditional wave. However, that depends on your definition of ‘progressive’. It’s not a progressive wave in terms of boosting airs, but it is progressive in terms of the lines you draw across it. There might be a section here or there, but the majority of the time, even last year when it was as good as Bells gets, it’s still a hard wave to ride. It’s a difficult wave to find a good line on because it’s always changing, wave-to-wave and even while you’re on the wave. Bells is a constantly changing thing.”
Last year marked the historic 50th anniversary of competition at Bells Beach and Parkinson reigned supreme over Gold Coast stablemate Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, in a hard-fought Final.
“The history and the vibe of the place follows you out into the lineup,” Parkinson said. “I love it. It’s like no other contest. They can’t trump last year… not for me anyway. Footage from last year keeps popping up all the time and I find myself having to get away from it because I don’t know if it can be that good again. You can’t convince yourself that every heat is going to be six foot and offshore in the Bells Bowl.”
Despite being one of the form surfers at the season-opening event on the Gold Coast (posting the only Perfect 10 of the contest), Parkinson was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by lethal South African Jordy Smith (ZAF), 24. Parkinson will look for another big result at this year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach to bolster his campaign for the 2012 ASP World Title.
“I guess a result here sets me up for a good year,” Parkinson said. “Because I’ve had a good track record at Bells, I kind of expect something out of myself there, a Final or a Semi or a Quarter, whatever. It’s always been an indicator event for me.”
Standing in Parkinson’s way will be the finest assemblage of talent the ASP World Championship Tour has ever seen.
“I’d say Mick (Fanning) and Taj (Burrow), going on form, are two of the most dangerous guys in the event,” Parkinson said. “I mean, Mick surfs the Bells Bowl better than anyone. Kelly (Slater) is always a threat everywhere we go. He doesn’t even know if he’s going to do Brazil, but he’s no slouch at Bells – he’s got four of them (Bells titles).”
In addition to the established performers on the world’s elite tour, Parkinson also acknowledges the recent performances of rookie phenom John John Florence (HAW), 19, as a major indicator of things to come.
“I was watching John John (Florence) at the ASP Prime event at Margaret River and he looked insane,” Parkinson said. “He’s been unbelievable since he’s been on tour. He can do anything, anywhere. His carving was amazing at Margies (Margaret River), his railwork, it’s all good. However, he’s never surfed Bells, so that will probably sort him out. It’s a tricky spot to jump in cold. It can be a real unknown kind of a place. If it goes to Winki (backup venue Winkipop), it gets a little more squared up, but at Bells you just ever know what’s going to happen.”
Parkinson will take on compatriots Adam Melling (AUS), 27, and Kai Otton (AUS), 32, in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Coastalwatch Plus, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, are calling for the start of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, including the trials to be held on the Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd of April, is now looking nothing short of excellent. The forecast broadly hinges on an active storm track affecting the far southern Indian Ocean through to Western Australian longitudes over the next week to ten days.