The Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach completed round one of competition in 2-3 ft waves in Victoria, Australia. The top 17 women in the world along with wildcard Nikki Van Dijk, witnessed perfect scores and shocking upsets during the first day.
Hurley’s Carissa Moore (HAW) locked down a perfect 10 in addition to the highest heat total of the day of a 19.43. As the ASP Women’s World Champion in 2011, Moore continues to impress with her powerful forehand attack and progressive maneuvers.
“I had so much fun in that heat,” Moore said. “I got great waves, had a lot of opportunity and got to perform. I’m in a really good place. I’m happy and have some really good people in my corner. Last week’s win in West Oz gave me some confidence but I’m just really excited to perform and hopefully the waves continue to improve.”
Australian athlete Sally Fitzgibbons displayed her love for Bells today by cleaning up her heat with a high heat total of 18.07 advancing herself into Round 3. Fitzgibbons has won the entire Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach twice already in her career.
“It feels great to be back in Bells,” Fitzgibbons said. “There’s something about the place – it feels like coming home for me and I love it. That said, there are certainly no easy heats on tour this year. I feel like my surfing has improved every year and I’ve had to work really hard to maintain the No. 2 spot. I’m motivated by how well the girls perform on tour and it pushes my performance too. The ASP World Title is the goal – it’s everyone’s goal.”
Brazil’s Silvana Lima is making a comeback after taking the 2012 season off due to injury. Lima is on her way to round 3, hoping to repeat history by taking home first place like she did back in 2009.
“I love Bells Beach,” Lima said. “I have a good history here. I haven’t had the best start to my season so to come back here and get a win in Round 1 feels really good. My knee feels good and my boards feel strong so I’m very happy to win the heat.”
Rip Curl’s Alana Blanchard took down reigning five time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) creating a huge upset for the day. Blanchard continues to start the season off right, currently sitting in fifth on the world rankings.
“I’m not really sure what’s different this season for me,” Blanchard said. “I think I’m a lot more relaxed as far as getting results go. I’m also catching more waves this year and being a little more aggressive in the water. Really excited to get a Round 1 win.”
Wildcard Nikki Van Dijk also shocked spectactors by taking down both world tour competitors Tyler Wright (AUS) and Malia Manuel (HAW) in their round 1 battle, sending her directly to round 3.
“Tyler (Wright) is such an incredible surfer and she’s had such a solid start to the year,” Van Dijk said. “To get a win over her, she’s the No. 1 surfer in the world right now, is a huge confidence boost. I’ve been working really hard though so I feel like my surfing is the best it has been. I’ve had the wildcard into the event for a few years so I feel like I have a lot of experience here in competition. Hopefully that serves me well as the event continues.”
During the last heat of the day, Lakey Peterson (USA) finished with a victory over Coco Ho (HAW) and Pauline Ado (FRA) with a solid 17.66 out of 20 with her powerful forehand surfing.
“Good start to the event for sure,” Peterson said. “I didn’t feel like I was surfing very well at the beginning but started to build towards the end. I’ve been watching the heats today and the girls have been surfing really well so I was analyzing what the judges were looking for. Bells is one of those waves where you take what the wave throws at you. Good start though and hope to improve in the coming days.”
When women’s competition resumes, up first will be Laura Enever (AUS), 21 and Malia Manuel (HAW), 19, in the opening heat of Round 2.