Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Preview: Who Will Ring Bells?

Bells Beach, the second stop on the ASP World Tour, lies less than 1,000 miles from Snapper Rocks, the first stop on the ASP World Tour. In it’s 38th year, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is one of the most iconic events on tour and surely the longest running surf contest out there. From M.R. to Occy to Kelly, ringing that bell is a big deal.

And with the new one world rating system looming, putting up a solid result is even more important for the Top 45. Two slip-ups could mean bye-bye World Tour come Lowers time.

Owen Wright made some noise as a wildcard last year. Can he do it this year as a World Tour rookie? Photo courtesy ASP

Owen Wright made some noise as a wildcard last year. Can he do it this year as a World Tour rookie? Photo courtesy ASP

In the “One World Rankings” Taj Burrow sits a smidge less than 5,000 points ahead of second-in-the-world CJ Hobgood. A man who knows about early season leads like this is Parko, who won Bells last year. Taj has a Bells title to his name and if he’s in the zone, watch out.
But don’t forget about a few of the other standouts from last year’s event: Parko, Jordy, Owen Wright [who took out both Dane and Kelly], and Bells club pro Adam Robertson.

On the women’s side, Steph Gilmore looks to stay on track for her fourth World Title in a row. But Silvana Lima took Bells last year and is going to bring her A-game once again. And don’t forget about the likes of Coco Ho, Sally Fitzgibbons, Carissa Moore, et al.

As the entire ASP World Tour treks around Oz, the Bells await ringing.—Ryan Brower

2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach champ Joel Parkinson. Photo courtesy ASP

2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach champ Joel Parkinson. Photo courtesy ASP

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach kicks off March 30th and runs till April 10th. You can get the latest from the event on transworldsurf.com and watch the event LIVE at at live.ripcurl.com.

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Who do you think will win Bells?

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2009 Women's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champ Silvana Lima. Photo courtesy ASP

2009 Women's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champ Silvana Lima. Photo courtesy ASP

Chris Cote

Men’s

Winner: Did I say Dane was gonna win Snapper? I think so, so I’m gonna stay on the Dane train and say he’ll win Bells. Even if he doesn’t win, his heats will be the most anticipated and the most enjoyed. Even though Bells is a hard wave to surf backside, Bobby Martinez will go to the end.
Shocker: Andy will get his board under his feet and shut a lot of people up.
Rookie: Pat Gudang will flair the f—k up.

Women’s

Winner: Coco is due for a good result, if the waves are bigger, she’ll shred.
Shocker: There will be nothing shocking.
Rookie: LeAnn Curren.

Casey Koteen

Men’s

Winner: Mick Fanning will heat up his world title hunt with a win. His frontside pocket carve suits the Bells walls, but he’ll get the scores by taking some chances on some higher-risk tail blows and high-speed combinations, inspired in part by Dane Reynolds’ performance pep talk in his Quik Pro quarterfinal heat.
Shocker: The shocker is that they continue to hold heats at Bells when Winkipop is a better wave and I’d bet nearly everyone in the Top 45 would rather surf there.
Rookie: Tanner Gudauskas had a great heat on the Goldy, but still got a 33rd. Bells’ wave shape is closer to Lowers rights, and TG will get a result.

Women’s

Winner: Silvana Lima has been ripping, she’s due to take Steph off the podium.
Shocker: Bells will mark the beginning of a philosophical rift on the women’s tour: those that wear bikinis in the frigid water, and those that don their fullsuits. A girl in a bikini will win the comp, but will be suffering from hypothermia by the time she accepts her trophy and will be so out of it she tries to eat the Bell instead of ring it.
Rookie: Toss up between Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright. Looks like Carissa has the less heavy side of the draw between the two, so I’ll go with her.

Aaron Checkwood

Men’s

Winner: Jordy Smith. As much as the new tour judging is supposed to change things it’ll be very hard to do on Bells Beach’s big walls. In fact, I hate being really cliché, but it’s a straight up power surfing wave and the main reason Adam Robertson made the final last year. Last year Jordy made the semis as well and I think he’ll be in the final this year.
Shocker: I think three of the big four of Kelly, Mick, Joel, and Taj will take some early losses before or around the Round of 16.
Rookie: Dusty. I know their totally different waves, but it would seem like a good place to do some giant Honolua-style carves.

Women’s

Winner: Carissa. Okay, okay, first event jitters. Just waiting for the momentum to begin.
Shocker: Carissa.
Rookie: Carissa.

Justin Cote

Men’s

Winner: Jordy Smith. The big bru is due for a win and there’s no better venue on the World Tour for his power-based brand of ripping than Bells. He’ll do initial turns as big as Parko, Kelly, and Mick, but separate himself from the pack with bigger maneuvers on the end section.
Shocker: A rookie will make it out of the round of 17… maybe.
Rookie: The powerful backside surfing of Nate Yeomans and Tanner Gudauskas will get one of them through a few heats.

Women’s

Winner: As much as I want to say Melanie Bartels, I don’t think she likes the cold water. That said, how do you not pick Stephanie Gilmore?
Shocker: Brazil’s Silvana Lima will stick a big air in one of her heats.
Rookie: Lee Ann Curren. She’s been posted up in Australia for a while now and has no issues with cold water and big waves.

If Parko starts throwing turns like this it's lights out. Photo courtesy ASP

If Parko starts throwing turns like this it's lights out. Photo courtesy ASP

Carl Steindler

Men’s

Winner: Bede Durbidge. He has the perfect blend of power and bag of new school tricks needed to win at Bells, and if the waves are good look for this seminal underdog to prevail.
Shocker: The triumphant return of Andy. The waves are gonna be firing and AI will be scalping people, silencing all his naysayers in the process.
Rookie: Adam Melling. In my opinion the closest thing to a “power surfer” of all the rooks, and that will translate well to the walls of Bells.

Women’s

Winner: I claimed Silvana for last contest and I’m going to claim her again. If anyone is going to beat Steph it will be her.
Shocker: Did Alana really fall off the tour? She’ll get the wild card and start the “rift” that Casey has referenced above…
Rookie: Carissa. Powerful, smooth and stylish…3 assets needed to do well at Bells and she possesses them all.

Ryan Brower

Men’s

Winner: I’m sticking with Taj. He’s surfing the best he ever has and with three major victories in a row and a second at Margaret River, he’s got that whole confidence issue down.
Shocker: Two years ago Bobby Martinez made the quarters at Bells. Fired up this year and looking as polished as ever on his backhand (thank you El Nino), Bobby will grab a solid finish at the difficult-to-surf-backside Bells.
Rookie: Remember last year at Bells when wildcard Owen Wright waxed both Dane Reynolds and Kelly Slater in back-to-back heats? Well he’s gonna take down big names again this year at Bells.

Women’s

Winner: It’s hard to go against Steph Gilmore these days. Don’t be surprised to see a Steph-Silvana finals rematch from last year (though Steph will get the better of Silvana this time around).
Shocker: No bikinis…
Rookie: Carissa is gonna emulate her Haleiwa performance from this past winter in stormy Bells and place in the semis.