Tue, 18 April 2017
Californian Courtney Conlogue rang the coveted bell for the second consecutive time yesterday after winning the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach in cooking 4-6' surf.
Conlogue defeated six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore in the final of the third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) unleashing her aggressive power-surfing and taking down a stellar cast that also included reigning WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).
“Winning it last year felt so good, but to back it up is amazing,” said Conlogue. “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.”
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.
The Final saw an exciting battle between Gilmore and Conlogue. 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 five 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 with a heat total of 17.00.
Coming into the Final, Gilmore was looking to add a fourth Bell to her trophy cabinet to equal the great Lisa Andersen (USA) for Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach titles. Although Gilmore wasn’t able to get the win on her 11th time competing at this event, she heads to Brazil as the Jeep Frontrunner.
The first Semifinal saw Conlogue blast two near-perfect 9-point rides for the win over 2016 WSL Champion Wright. Wright, with a 7.17 and 7.83, was not able to overcome the Californian and will be eliminated in Equal 3rd place. Today’s result will see Wright stay in 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Conlogue previously dispatched three-time WSL Champion and three-time event winner Moore in the opening Quarterfinal matchup. A heated battle saw the two post excellent range scores. An intense paddle battle gave way for Conlogue to regain priority at the halfway mark. With ten minutes left and needing an 8.24, Moore waited for a set to come through while Conlogue kept busy on the inside. Moore chased down a wave in the final minute, but it was not enough to meet the requirement. Moore will be eliminated with her third 5th place result of the season.
Californian Lakey Peterson (AUS) was not able to hold on in the second Semifinal against Gilmore. Peterson’s 3rd place result matches her best finish at Bells in 2013. In addition to her finish in Victoria, Peterson’s runner-up result on the Gold Coast and 13th in Margaret River will put her at 5th on the rankings heading into the next event.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 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.
The day kicked off with the remaining five heats of men’s Round 3 and saw Filipe Toledo (BRA) rip into the Bells Bowl with a near-perfect 9.77 and 8.50 to jumpstart the day. Adrian Buchan (AUS) was not able to combat the Brazilian charger and will leave with a 13th place result.
In a major upset, defending event winner Matt Wilkinson (AUS) was knocked out by Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) in Heat 10 of Round 3. Dantas took advantage of the conditions to get vertical on his backhand maneuvers and earn a 13.73 combined score. Wilkinson fought tooth and nail for the lead but couldn’t quite find the required score at the end.
Smith landed a near-perfect 9.27 and excellent 8.83 to dispatch the CT rookie.
2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) and 2012 WSL Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) made their way through to the next round after taking down Jeremy Flores (FRA) and CT Rookie Connor O’Leary (AUS), respectively. Three-time event winner Parkinson showcased textbook turns to earn his way through with an excellent 8.33 and 7.33 to make up his two-wave score.
Jordy Smith (ZAF) also found success against Joan Duru (FRA). Smith landed a near-perfect 9.27 and excellent 8.83 to dispatch the CT rookie. Although Duru was beaten, his performance throughout this event was spirited as he displayed his critical backhand attack. Smith will now move into Round 4.
Surfline, official forecast for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, are calling for: SW swell fading further into Tuesday morning with a solid swell peaking Wednesday and fading Thursday, although wind will not be as favorable as what we’ll see the next couple days. A final swell is possible for the end of the waiting period, although it looks smaller than what we’re now.
For more information, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Final Results
1 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.00
2 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.33
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Semifinal Results
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
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results
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
2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Bells Beach)
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 24,500 pts
2 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 21,700 pts
3 - Tyler Wright (AUS) 19,700
4 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 18,500
5 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 16,250
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Round 3 Results
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.27 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.56
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.53 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.50
Heat 10: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.73 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.00
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.66 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.60
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.10 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 14.44
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Match-Ups
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 4: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF)