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Big Names Hold Onto Hope at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach as Mid-Season Cut Looms

  • Front Page: Three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning of Australia and Seth Moniz of Hawaii after surfing in Heat 2 of the Elimination Round at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on April 12. Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League.
  • Ash Barty Drops in on Friends Stephanie Gilmore, Molly Picklum, and Mick Fanning at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
  • Former Bells Winners Battle for Big Results to Overcome Mid-season Cut
  • Local Hero India Robsinson Advances to Round of 16, Defay and Weston-Webb Score Big
Pictured: Seven-time World Champion and four-time Bells winner, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), with Ash Barty, Tennis World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion, following her Opening Round heat win at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Credit: © WSL / Ryder

BELLS BEACH, Victoria, Australia (Tuesday, April 12, 2022) – The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the fourth stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), saw the first competitors eliminated today with the completion of the Opening and Elimination Rounds in semi-clean three-to-four foot surf at Winkipop. The second day of competition witnessed no shortage of excitement with big wins by Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), and Morgan Cibilic (AUS) and a visit from Tennis World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion, Ash Barty.

Pictured: Johanne Defay posted the highest heat total of the event so far on Day 2 at Bells with a 16.67 two-wave total. Credit: © WSL / Sloane
Former Bells Winners Battle for Big Results to Overcome Mid-season Cut

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), and Courtney Conlogue (USA) are all previous winners at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach but find themselves in jeopardy of not making it through to the second half of the 2022 CT season. All three veterans are searching for big results at Bells, the second-to-last competition before the new Mid-season Cut.

Four-time Bells winner Gilmore made the most of her heat, ending up on top and beating Hennessy, who currently holds the No. 1 spot on the rankings. Two-time Bells winner Fitzgibbons was unable to progress through to the Round of 16 after placing third, just 0.54 behind fellow Australian Bronte MacaulayConlogue also narrowly missed out on the second position by 0.91 points against compatriot Lakey Peterson.

Two-time Bells winner and Australian World Title hopeful Fitzgibbons found herself in the dreaded Elimination Round and with the possibility of another sub-par result in 2022. Needing a massive result here at Bells to keep her spot on the Championship Tour alive, Fitzgibbons dug deep in her second heat of the day, posting a 15.10 two-wave combination to get her campaign back on track as she now shifts her focus to the Round of 16.

“After my first heat, I had another chance, paddled out with a fresh start, and just enjoyed my experience no matter what,” Fitzgibbons said. “When you put your heart and soul into your surfing and sometimes don’t have scores come your way or the results don’t flow, it can sometimes break your spirits a bit and that’s when you dig deep and trust in the work you’ve put in. I’m so comfortable down here and love competing here so it’s good to be back.”

Pictured: Ash Barty and Mick Fanning catching up on the Winkipop stairs at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Credit: © WSL / Hughes
Ash Barty Drops in on Friends Stephanie Gilmore, Molly Picklum, and Mick Fanning at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 

After the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach played host to some of Formula 1’s rising stars yesterday, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach welcomed Ash Barty, Tennis World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion. On her first visit to Bells Beach, Barty attended today’s competition to cheer on good friend Stephanie Gilmore in the Opening Round.

“It’s nice to come down and watch Steph (Gilmore), watch Molly (Picklum), and a few of the other girls that are my mates,” said Barty. “To come down and watch them do their thing live for the first time, it’s so different live than it is on telly and as a fan and as a friend, I really enjoy doing it.”

Local Hero India Robsinson Advances to Round of 16, Defay and Weston-Webb Score Big 

2022 CT rookie and local hero India Robinson (AUS) progressed through to the next round after placing second in Opening Round 1, Heat 5. Johanne Defay (FRA) was the stand-out performer of the heat and the day with her highest scoring wave of 8.50 (out of a possible 10) and a combined score of 16.67 (out of a possible 20). Defay found the best waves of the matchup and showed full commitment on critical sections, which were highly regarded by the judges.

“I got lucky with those two bigger waves that came through because I got them without priority,” Defay said. “It’s so cool to be back at Bells after missing the last few years. I love it down here. I stay with a great family here and have been enjoying my time, so I feel like I’m in a really good headspace.”

The other standout from the women’s Opening Round was perennial Title threat Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), who posted an excellent score in her heat win over Fitzgibbons and Bronte Macaulay (AUS). Weston-Webb’s 8.17 came from a series of vertical backside re-entries on a long clean Winki wall. Weston-Webb will now face fellow goofy-foot Macaulay in Heat 3 of the Round of 16.

Pictured: Mick Fanning with his family after his Elimination Round heat at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Credit: © WSL / Sloane
Wildcards and Injury Replacements Build Momentum at Rip Curl Pro

A slow heat on the Bells Bowl yesterday saw Mick Fanning (AUS) relegated into today’s Elimination Round. The four-time Bells winner found redemption on Day 2 as the competition shifted to Winkipop. Fanning showed flashes of brilliance on the way to claiming the second progressing spot behind CT sophomore Morgan Cibilic (AUS). The three-time World Champion will now have the tough task of taking on World No. 1 Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in Heat 9 of the Round of 32 when competition resumes.

“Yesterday was a bit embarrassing on my behalf, so it was nice to go out to go out and get some waves,” Fanning said. “It was cool coming up against Morgan (Cibilic) and Seth (Moniz)–two kids I absolutely love and cheer for on Tour. But, I’m stoked to click into gear. Winki is good, it’s different to Bells, but I love it just as much and always have fun surfing heats out there.”

Wildcard Barron Mamiya (HAW) out-performed the two Australians Ethan Ewing and Morgan Cibilic in Heat 12. Earning a 6.0 and 7.0 (out of a possible 10) early in the heat, Mamiya set himself up well to claim victory in his opening heat on Day 2 of the Rip Curl Pro.

Current World No. 2 Mamiya said he was excited with his first-round win on his first-ever visit to Bells Beach: “I’ve been surfing out at Winki for the last couple of days since I got here. The waves have been pretty small but it was super fun out there, so I’m stoked with the heat.”

“After Sunset everything kind of moves super fast for me,” Mamiya continued. “I got some time back at home after Portugal to reset and focus on the new goal. I’m super stoked to be here and I’m stoked to hopefully make some more heats.”

It was a mixed day of results for Rip Curl Trials winners with local favorite Tully Wylie (AUS) being eliminated from competition while Californian Alyssa Spencer (USA) found herself a progressing spot into the Round of 16. Spencer’s backhand was in good rhythm with the Winki walls and she’ll be hoping to carry that form into her heat with reigning WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).

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) 8.17Rip 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

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:
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)

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:
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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Watch LIVE
The Rip Curl Bells Beach holds a competition window through April 20, 2022. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on and WSL’s YouTube channel, as well as the free WSL app. Check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

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