Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach preview
Bells Beach, Torquay, Australia
Bells Beach can be a fickle mistress, but with the right wind, tide and swell direction, it's an amazing right-hand racetrack. Known as one of the most iconic surf spots in the world, the Bells Bowl has seen its fair share of history over the past half century. This year should see much of the same.
The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach is the oldest event on the ASP World Tour, but there are plenty of fresh faces looking to etch their name into the history books. Gabriel Medina has been part of this contest since he was an up-and-coming junior, a fact that has to give him a lot of comfort as he looks to extend his ratings lead. If he comes away from Bells with a good result, the world title chatter surrounding him will become a lot more real. Of course, the other competitors on tour have other intentions.
Adriano De Souza
Love him or hate him, Adriano De Souza's passion is indisputable. Last year, he was so pumped after his win that he shook the trophy hard and broke the iconic bell off it. He'd love nothing more than to defend his title, and perhaps break another trophy.
Last year, Nat Young stole the show with a backside attack that would make Bells local Mark "Occy" Occhilupo proud. Taking second put him in firm control of the rookie of the year race. Now a bit older, wiser and more motivated, Young is looking to win at Bells this time around.
Coming off a win at Margaret River, Carissa Moore has her surfing on point right now. Last year, she took the win at Margaret River and Bells, which propelled her to a world title. Moore's season is lining up in a similar fashion this year.
Last year, Kelly Slater was unexpectedly knocked out of the contest in Round 3. With a fifth and a third-place finish in the first two events of the year, it's a safe bet he has his eyes trained on making the final this time around.
Stephanie Gilmore knows exactly what it takes to win at Bells, because she's done it before. The long lines that the wave allows a surfer to draw suits her brand of fun-loving surfing perfectly.
Kolohe Andino needs a good result to remain in contention on the 2014 ASP World Tour. As he hovers in the back half of the ratings, fans and fellow competitors continue to wonder when he's going to put it all together in a contest.
A smart, tactical surfer, Adam Melling is one of those dark horses who could easily break out at the Rip Curl Pro. He's due for a big result, and Bells seems like a logical place for it to happen.
Growing up in South Africa, Bianca Buitendag is no stranger to strong surf and can match power with power. After putting her name on the map at Snapper Rocks, she can definitely have an impact at Bells, too.
Mick Fanning's title defense hasn't gone the way he would have hoped. Can his familiarity with the Bells Bowl break him out of his funk?
With solid results at Snapper and Margaret River, Joel Parkinson has quietly put himself in a good position to contend for a world title this year. Bells is a wave he's historically had a lot of success at, which could make the Aussie leg of the tour very fruitful for him.
Courtney Conlogue has the power and technique to make a huge impact at Bells. She just needs the right waves to come her way.
Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz
Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz has been relatively quiet this year, but Bells is just the kind of wave that could put him back in the conversation.
Goofy-footers are statistically at a disadvantage at Bells, but nobody told CJ Hobgood that. His backhand rooster tail is among the best in the business and will serve him well as he looks to hook his turns tight in the pocket.
As far as backup venues go, Winkipop isn't too bad. The forecast for the start of the waiting period looks pretty good for the bowl at Bells, but this isn't a bad ace to have up your sleeve.