Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag have advanced to Round 4 of the men’s and women’s events at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
Both South Africans suffered early exits at the first event of year on the Gold Coast of Australia two weeks ago and, being the tallest surfers on their respective tours, have relished the additional size and power of the waves at Bells Beach, the iconic venue for this event for past 55 years.
Smith, after finishing second to John John Florence (HAW) in their non-elimination Round 1 heat held in one metre waves on Friday, was able to use his full repertoire of carving rail manoeuvres to defeat dangerous injury replacement Adam Melling (AUS) in unruly double overhead, three metre conditions on Saturday.
The Durbanite continued his momentum on Sunday, slashing his way through the 1 to 1.5 metre onshore surf on Sunday to post victory over Kai Otton (AUS) and advance to Round 4. There he faces three-time world champion and four-time and defending Bells champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and rookie Conner Coffin (USA) with the heat winner progressing directly to the quarterfinals while the other two compete in elimination two-man Round 5 heats.
Smith, a three-time semifinalist at Bells, and Fanning are the only top-12 seeded surfers remaining in the bottom half of the draw following a series of major upsets that saw Joel Parkinson, Florence and Gabriel Medina sidelined by rookies Coffin, Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Davey Cathels (AUS), while Kelly Slater was ousted by Michel Bourez (PYF).
Buitendag started her Bells campaign with a well deserved Round 1 win over six-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore and rookie Chelsea Tuach of Barbados to skip Round 2. However, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay was relegated to third place by reigning world and Bells champ Carissa Moore and fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel in Round 3.
Buitendag faces a match up with another Hawaiian in Alessa Quizon when competition resumes with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal clash with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and the loser eliminated from the event in equal ninth place overall.
Sunday’s action was capped off with the WSL Heritage Series heat between Australian former world champions Barton Lynch (1988) and Damien Hardman (1987, 1991). Despite the challenging lineup, the icons surgically dismantled the tricky Bells conditions on their backhand, with Lynch walking away the victory
Surfline, the official forecasters for the event, are predicting a dropping swell and onshore winds for Tuesday and Wednesday. Clean but small conditions are likely for Thursday before the swell fills in again with offshore winds from Friday.
Event organizers will reconvene each morning at 8am local time (11pm SA time) to assess conditions for a possible recommencement of competition.
All the action from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach can be watched LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com which also features full results, images, video footage, the Heat Analyser, news, forecasts, and more.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.00 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.83
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.50 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 7.67
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.44 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.67
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.47 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 8.37
Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.37 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.60
Heat 6: Mason Ho (HAW) 15.10 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.33
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.60 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.57
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.27 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.26
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.83 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.70
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.54 def. John def. John Florence (HAW) 15.50
Heat 12: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.40 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.07
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Nat Young (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Mason Ho (HAW)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.66, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.40, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 4.77
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.27, Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.60, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.50, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.10, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 6.76
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.10, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 6.36, Tyler Wright (AUS) 4.83
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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