Courtney Conlogue, from USA, has won the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach today after defeating Stephanie Gilmore in four-to-six foot (1 – 2 metre) conditions at the world-renowned Bells Beach in the Australian state of Victoria.
The third stop of the WSL Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, witnessed Conlogue ring the coveted Bell for the second time after her dominance throughout the final series today. The Californian unleashed her aggressive power-surfing to take down a stacked field of competitors, including six-time WSL Champion Gilmore, reigning WSL Champion Tyler Wright and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore, from Hawaii.
Winning it last year felt so good, but to back it up is amazing. I’m so speechless. The first two events of the Australian leg did not go that well for me, so I’m stoked to finish it off with a win. I have always loved coming to Bells. It’s an amazing arena with all of the fans down here. It’s a really tricky wave to master, so to have two wins here is really special. – Courtney Conlogue.
Conlogue came into the start of the 2017 season as World No. 2, but a 9th place finish at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and 5th place result at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro set her back to World No. 9. The Californian’s win today moves her up to fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard to now put her World Title campaign back on track.
Coming up against Stephanie [Gilmore] in the Final was incredible. She is such an amazing surfer and tough competitor. Maintaining composure at the end was key. I had a lot of last-minute wins this contest and that’s why it’s true that you should never give up because it’s not over until it is over. – continued Conlogue.
The Final saw an exciting battle between Gilmore and Conlogue. Stephanie Gilmore got the edge on the opening exchange with an excellent 8.33 (out of a possible 10) to Conlogue’s 8.00. The women continued to charge, again posting excellent-range scores with Gilmore leading Conlogue’s 15.27 combined score by only 1.06 points. In the last 5 minutes of the heat, Conlogue took off on the biggest set wave of the Final and displayed her trademark power hacks and jams in the pocket to post an excellent 9.00-point ride for the lead. With only seconds left, Gilmore attempted to scratch into a medium-sized set but was unable to make it, leaving Conlogue to win her second consecutive Bell with a heat total of 17.00.
This was an incredible event. We’ve had some awesome waves over these past few days and it was a special Easter weekend to have everyone down here. To surf in front of this crowd is a really special experience. I always try my best, but it is a tough field to beat so I am happy to come away with a second and still hold onto that lead. I will hopefully hold onto it for as long as I can. – Stephanie Gilmore.
Coming into the Final, Gilmore was looking to add a fourth Bell to her trophy cabinet to equal the great Lisa Andersen for Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach titles. After a series of buzzer-beater heat wins throughout the Australian leg, Gilmore seemed to shift gears and stay more active in the Final, which gave her the upper-hand for its majority. Although Gilmore wasn’t able to get the win on her 11th time competing at this event, she heads to Brazil as the leader.
Sally Fitzgibbons, 2017 World Title contender and two-time event winner, was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Peterson. In a tight matchup, Peterson got the edge over Fitzgibbons by a narrow margin of 0.26 points. Fitzgibbons was leading the Jeep Leaderboard coming into this event, but now moves to 2nd with this result.
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For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.00
2 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.33
SF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 18.33 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.00
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.66 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 9.73
QF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.56 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.33
QF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.26 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.60
QF 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.86 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.60
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.60 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.80