The Rip Curl Event Wildcard has been awarded to 2012 under 16 ISA World Junior Champion, Jacob Willcox. After competing in the event last year, the Margaret River (WA) local is looking forward to coming up against the world’s best at Bells Beach. He will face 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA) in Round 1 Heat 6.
“I love coming over to Victoria and am thrilled for the opportunity to surf at the highest level,” said Willcox. “I really want to put in a good performance against the top seeds and gain as much experience as possible along the way.”
Local surfers, Cahill Bell-Warren (Bells Beach) and Zoe Clarke (Jan Juc) will join Willcox to compete alongside the ASP Top 34 and Top 17 and complete the field for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Bell-Warren and Clarke will each take a wildcard into the historic event after winning the Building a Healthier Victoria Trials in small waves at Bells Beach today.
Bell-Warren used his intricate local knowledge at the break to take down former WCT surfer Glyndyn Ringrose (Phillip Island) in the Final. With a total heat score of 16.50 to Ringrose’s 12.10, the Bells Beach local was proud to have gained the wildcard in front of his friends and family. Bell-Warren will match-up against Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Adam Melling (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 5.
“I am so stoked to win at my home break and in front of all my friends and family,” said Bell-Warren. “I have grown up surfing and competing at Bells Beach, from Torquay Boardriders and Surfing Victoria domestic events now through to the highest level of competition in the world, it’s an amazing feeling.”
“If it wasn’t for the Victorian Government backing Victorian surfers for this event and giving them the opportunity to gain a wildcard I would be watching this event from the grandstands.”
“Coming up against the top seeds will be fun. They are at the top for a reason and you can learn a lot from them just by surfing against them. All you can do is worry about yourself and the waves you catch.”
On the Women’s side of the draw Jan Juc 17 year old, Zoe Clarke, took down Georgia Fish, Cali McDonagh and Ella Williams to gain the wildcard. She will come up against reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and defending event winner Carissa Moore (HAW) and rookie Dimity Stoyle (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 3.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I guess once the competition starts it will probably hit me a bit more! The high tide helped with the waves but there were only really five decent ones in the heat; I was lucky to get two good waves early,” said an elated Clarke.
“I’m just taking this event for the experience it is and I am just hoping to learn as much as possible coming up against the best in the world.”
Alejo Muniz has withdrawn from the competition due to an ongoing injury. ASP replacement surfer Glenn Hall (IRL) will compete in his place.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Zoe Clarke (AUS)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 6: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Lakey Peterson (USA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Stop No. 3 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, will be held from Wednesday, April 16, to Sunday, April 27, 2014 and will be webcast LIVE.