Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.46
The final between Australian icons Mick Fanning and Taj Burrow got off to a slow start with dwindling swell at Winkipop, but there was no shortage of action throughout the 35 minute affair.
Burrow logged a few small scores, while Fanning waited patiently for a quality set wave. Fanning would not falter on his opening ride, surgically dismantling the righthander for an excellent 8.83. The reigning two-time ASP World Champion’s precision continued, adding an additional 8.00 to his scoreline.
Burrow was in need of big scores entering the back half of the heat and the veteran would deliver, blitzing a steep wall with tail-drifting turns for a near-perfect 9.63, clawing his way back in to the heat. But with no notable set to match, Fanning was able to use priority to his advantage for the remainder of the heat, holding on to claim his third Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title.
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.43 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.43
For the final heats of competition, event organizers relocated nearby to the high-performance wave of Winkipop to crown the 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Champion. Progressive standouts Taj Burrow andJohn John Florence took to the water first, with Burrow establishing an early lead of an 8.33.
Florence looked deadly, smashing a 7.33 of his own, but Burrow’s backup of a 6.10 saw the veteran advance to the Final over the young Hawaiian.
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.20 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.36
Julian Wilson struck first in what would turn in to a shootout for the remaining Final slot against reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning.
Wilson locked in the first of several excellent scores to open the heat with an 8.00, quickly backing up the ride with a 6.33.
Fanning would not be cowed, however, battling back and unloading a ferocious assault of forehand gouges, netting an 8.77 and 9.43. Wilson’s attack continued to the end of the heat, but his last-ditch effort fell short of the near-perfect ride needed.
Wilson claims and Equal 3rd as Fanning heads to the Final.
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.50 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.16
Down to the business end of the event and Bells fired for the big guns. The Quarterfinals commenced with an intriguing matchup between defending event winner Adriano de Souza and perennial title threat Taj Burrow.
De Souza has looked phenomenally sharp all event and his tireless assault of the Bells walls continued this afternoon.
Burrow, however, would not be outmatched, selecting the larger waves and executing larger turns.
Equal 5th for De Souza and advancement to the Semifinals for Burrow.
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 13.13 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.10
Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence and Floridian icon Kelly Slater did battle next in one of the most anticipated heats of Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition, with both talents making uncharacteristic stumbles throughout the 30 minute affair.
Slater drew first blood with a 6.33 for a series of clean turns. Florence answered back with a technical frontside slob-grab straight air, claiming a 6.83 for the single maneuver. Florence was in the back seat in the final minutes of the heat, but connected a series of critical forehand gouges and snaps with just over a minute remaining for a 6.30 and a win over the 11-time ASP World Champ.
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.53 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.34
Quarterfinal No. 3 hosted a high-scoring bout between stylish regular-footers Joel Parkinson and Julian Wilson. Parkinson got on his board first, logging a pair of 7.67s with his signature forehand technique.
Wilson was on fire, however, unloading his impressive blend of power and progression. The up-and-comer garnered two excellent rides of 9.10 and 8.43 to secure his Semifinals slot over the 2012 ASP World Champion.
The high tide began to fill in for the last Quarterfinal matchup between Mick Fanning and Owen Wright, plaguing the Bells Bowl lineup with inconsistent conditions. The lack of swell on offer made both wave selection and execution critical for the two Australians and both Fanning and Wright would execute.
Wright got the best of the opening exchange, belting Bells Bowl on his backhand for a 6.33 while Fanning’s seamless forehand carves garnered a 5.33. A series of weak sets caused a long pause in the action, leaving one last chance for Fanning to steal the lead. With less than one minute remaining, Fanning locked in on a set and convincingly carved up a solid 7.33, overtaking Wright for the win.
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.27 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.33
The opening Round 5 heat was a one-sided affair between defending event champion Adriano de Souza and current ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina.
De Souza got off to a quick start, catching six waves while posting keeper scores of 7.77 and 8.50 for his ferocious forehand attack, before Medina even found his feet. Medina struggled to get on the board, remaining scoreless until the 13-minute mark. The prodigious goofy-footer eventually notched a 7 and 6.33, but was unable to overcome de Souza’s early-heat momentum.
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.26 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 12.44
Kelly Slater came out strong for the final day of men’s competition against dangerous Australian Adam Melling, belting an excellent 8.33 on his opening ride for a series of powerful combinations. The 11-time ASP World Champion backed up the ride shortly thereafter, adding a 6.93 with his signature forehand style.
While Melling would struggle to find a rhythm, the regular footer eventually dismantled a Bells Bowl set for a 7.77, clawing his way back into the heat. Ultimately Slater’s early efforts proved too much for Melling to match, with the American advancing to the Quarterfinals.
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.30 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.26
Progressive wizards Julian Wilson and Jordy Smith entangled in a fiery battle for a spot Quarterfinals, with Smith posting a 7.33 and a 5.00 to start and Wilson digging his rail on his opening ride.
The heat would end in fireworks when both Smith and Wilson displayed their full blend of powerful turns and massive airs in a fight that came down to the final 90 seconds. A 9.13 ride just before the 5-minute mark gave Wilson a healthy lead. With a sense of urgency, Smith threw his big frame behind every turn in need of a 9.97. The South African would fall just shy of the score needed, posting a painfully close 9.93.
The final heat of Round 5 was a battle of the goofy-footers with rejuvenated Hawaiian Fred Patacchia facing off against a returned-to-form Owen Wright.
It’s been one year since Wright suffered a back injury at the 2013 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach that sidelined him for the remainder of last season. Back this year and fitter than ever, Wright’s technical and stylish backhand was on full display this morning, dissecting the Bells righthanders through to the very end of the heat.
Patacchia looked dangerous as well, and his Equal 9th place at Bells will be motivation for the upcoming event in Rio de Janeiro.