Jordy Smith has won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach today after electric performances in pumping six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) conditions at the iconic venue in the Australian State of Victoria. Smith bested fellow Finalist Caio Ibelli, from brazil,in a classic Bells Beach showdown to close out the Australian leg.
The third stop of the WSL Championship Tour (CT), the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, is the longest-running professional surf event in the world. This year’s 56th iteration saw a competitive field of elite surfers throw down their best performances with Smith earning the right to ‘ring the Bell’ for the first time in his career.
Jordy Smith secured his sixth Championship Tour win today following a series of heated match-ups against Ibelli, 2017 CT Rookie Ezekiel Lau and 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza. The win marks Smith’s best result here at Bells, following his runner-up finish in 2016, and moves him up to World No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard.
I can’t even believe it — second last year and now this — it’s amazing. I was stoked to have made it into Round 4 and then every heat after that was a bonus. I tried to take it easy and not take things too seriously, as you may have been able to tell from some of my claims in the Final. This is an absolute dream come true. I’ve been working on winning this event for 10 years now and to get it today is incredible. – Jordy Smith.
An intense Final witnessed Smith and Ibelli blast huge scores as they put all on the line to win. Smith charged with two 9-point rides for the lead. Ibelli answered back with a near-perfect 9.63 (out of a possible 10), needing a 9.25 with ten minutes left on the clock. Smith continued to heat things up with a 9.13, raising the requirement to a 9.28. With a 17.46 two-wave score, Ibelli was not able to defeat the South African’s commanding 18.90.
Ibell’s runner-up finish is his career-best result on the elite CT. The 2016 Rookie of the Year showcased a new level to his surfing with powerful, high-risk maneuvers to take out a tough field of challengers in final series. In his first time competing at Bells last season, Ibelli eliminated John John Florence in Round 3. In a Semifinal rematch, Ibelli took out Florence once again to earn his first Finals appearance. The young Brazilian will now launch from 19th to 7th on the rankings.
This trophy is going to look really nice in my house. This has been the best Easter I have ever had. I’m so stoked. The waves and the support at Bells is so amazing. It’s really special. To be in the Final with Jordy Smith, someone I’ve always looked up to, at a perfect wave like Bells is a dream come true for me. – Caio Ibelli.
The second Semifinal saw Smith eliminate Zeke Lau from the draw after an intense clash. Lau had been on a tear all day, even eliminating 2017 World Title contender Filipe Toledo on his way to his best-ever result on the Championship Tour. With a 13th place result on the Gold Coast and 25th at Margaret River, Lau will now climb up to 11th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
I had a lot of good heats at this event and was able to put it together more than I thought I was going to at times. I’m really stoked with how I surfed at this event. Coming that close to the Final and falling short does hurt a bit, but Jordy [Smith] has been surfing really well and capitalized at the end. This has definitely built up my confidence, especially after a poor result at Margaret River. I just can’t wait to get to Brazil and hopefully keep the roll going. – Zeke Lau.
Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence was defeated in the first Semifinal by eventual runner-up Ibelli. Florence posted extraordinary results at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, but fell just 0.20 points short of the win against the Brazilian powerhouse. Despite the Semifinal loss, Florence is off to his best start on the CT after his victory at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro and Semifinal finish at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Still ranked first in the world, Florence will look to defend his event title in Rio and retain the yellow Leader Jersey.
This is by far my best start to the year, so I’m really happy. I had a really fun event with some great heats, but unfortunately Caio [Ibelli] got me again at Bells Beach. I made a few mistakes that were kind of beneficial because I can take a lot from them and learn from them. I’m really looking forward to head back to Brazil in a few weeks. I’ve had success there and the waves are really fun, so it should be a great event. I’ve had an awesome Australian leg and am stoked with how it all went. – John John Florence.
2017 CT Rookie Frederico Morais, from Portugal, was eliminated in the opening Quarterfinal by Ibelli. This is the rookie’s best result as a full-time CT competitor and he will move to 19th on the Jeep Leaderboard. With early exits from the first two events this season, Morais’ comeback at Bells will put him in a great position heading into Rio.
The next stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour is the Oi Rio Pro in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from May 9 – 20, 2017.
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For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.90
2 – Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.46
SF 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.63 def. John John Florence (HAW) 17.43
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.63 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.17
QF 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.00 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.50
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 16.70 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.77
QF 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 18.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.66
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.77 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.53