|Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach trials winner Jacob Willcox (AUS) delivered a masterful performance over last year’s World Title contender Julian Wilson (AUS). Wilson narrowly missed the 7.24 by .01 to overtake Willcox for the heat win but safely secured his place over Joan Duru (FRA).
“The waves have been a little bit small for the last few days, so I feel like surfing through the Trials definitely gave me an advantage,” Willcox said. “Julian (Wilson) is one of my favorite surfers and I’ve always looked up to him so it was really cool to share a heat win him. I’ve had a few wildcards into CT events over the years but this one feels a bit different because I feel a lot more relaxed and sort of know what to expect.”
Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) showed why he’s the most formidable competitor on Tour, clinching a victory over Ryan Callinan (AUS)and Trials Winner Harrison Mann (AUS) in the dying minutes of the heat. Callinan held a commanding lead for the majority of the heat until the two-time World Champion found his rhythm and took the lead. The Brasílian superstar has yet to ring the coveted Bell and is one step closer in Round 3 (the Round of 32).
“It’s always hard coming up against Ryan (Callinan), he is such a great competitor,” Medina said. “Also, having a local wildcard is scary because they know the waves better than anyone on Tour, so it feels good to make it through. The waves were a bit slow in that heat so I had to be patient, which can be hard for me because I like to catch lots of waves so I’m definitely glad to have made it through.”
Americans Conner Coffin (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA) continued their excellent form in 2019, each winning their Round 1 heats at Winkipop. Andino looked to have rebounded well from his narrow loss in the Final on the Gold Coast while Coffin hopes to better his Quarterfinal finish from last week.
The opening heat of this year’s event witnessed a clash of veteran talent where Jadson Andre (BRA) was able to notch a much-needed win over 10-year CT competitor Owen Wright (AUS) and 13-year veteran Jeremy Flores (FRA).