|Top 5’s Peterson, Manuel, and Weston-Webb Eliminated in Round of 16
The Opening heat of the day saw a clash of the Californians with Lakey Peterson taking on 2019 Bells winner Courtney Conlogue. With Peterson residing in Torquay for half the year and Conlogue in the hunt for her third win at Bells, this heat was a matchup of two very formidable and experienced competitors at this location and was always going to be one to watch. Conlogue took control of the heat early and never looked back, convincingly beating the world No. 2. The win was a must for Conlogue who is currently sitting below the Mid-season Cut Line and in desperate need of a big result here at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
“I kind of played off all of the knowledge I’ve had through all the years out here and just trusted the process,” said Conlogue. “It was tricky, really slow, but I had a good start and it paid off. The stakes are high, they always are and I’ve had a tricky year and you have to learn from those experiences and play it out and see it through. Whatever happens, happens. The best way to do well is flow”.
Heat 2 saw Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) progress to the Quarterfinals after beating World No. 5 Malia Manuel (HAW) by just 0.33 points. In four-to-six-foot waves with light wind conditions, it was the first time either of the athletes surfed at Bells in the 2022 Rip Curl Pro.
Injury replacement Bronte Macaulay (AUS) was a standout in the Round of 16, dominating her matchup with fellow goofy-foot and World Title hopeful Tatiana Weston-Webb. Macaulay was on fire, throwing buckets of spray with her vertical backhand turns to post an impressive two-wave total of 15.66 which left Weston-Webb in a combination situation (needing two scores).
“It was always going to be a hard heat against Tatiana,” Macaulay said. “She’s got a really good backhand but I was just so excited to surf. I was feeling really competitive before that heat and I haven’t felt competitive for a while so it was exciting to be out there. I feel really lucky to be working with Jordy who is a local here and he gave me some amazing tips on wave selection which definitely helped. I got some clean ones that were the best waves.”