|Appearing in her fifth CT Final, Manuel hoped that the first career win in her eight years on the CT would involve her hoisting the iconic Bell above her head. Manuel started well in the Final against Conlogue with a solid heat total but fell short by 7.67 points. Although she leaves Australia without the win, Manuel will head to Bali second on the World Rankings after a career-best start to the season.
“It’s a lot to take it in as this is the best start to my year so far,” Manuel said. “I’m very thankful we get to come back here to this iconic place of Bells Beach. It’s so special. It’s amazing to be up here with some of the best stars of our generation and I got a cool little Bell to take home to Hawaii. The waves for the last few days were challenging for all of us, but I definitely think that being from Hawaii has definitely helped me feel comfortable as I have those ocean instincts.”
Toledo wanted his eighth event win and his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title in today’s Final, but he fell just short to Florence. Toledo’s reputation as one of the best rail surfers on Tour strengthened today as he ripped into the huge, open walls of the Bells Bowl. The perennial title threat held a commanding lead throughout the Final until Florence locked in a 7.63 (out of a possible 10), leaving Toledo to chase until the final seconds. The Brasilian was unable to find the win and finished runner-up to Florence for the second time in his career.
“John John (Florence) has now got me twice,” said Toledo. “I see you brother (laughs), I’m just kidding. I feel so blessed to be in the Final of such a historic event in waves like this and I think everyone wanted to be in that Final surfing those waves. It was awesome to be out there against one of the best surfers in the world. Congrats to John (Florence), Courtney (Conlogue), Malia (Manuel), and to everyone else who did really well. It’s been fun to watch the last few days. I finally got to surf proper Bells Beach, which was really fun.”