Nat Young (USA), 21, 2013 ASP Dream Tour rookie, into the Semifinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
BELLS BEACH, Victoria/AUS (Monday, April 1, 2013) – Pristine three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves rolled through the aquatic amphitheater of Bells Beach today as the world’s best surfers battled through three electric rounds of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford.
Stop No. 2 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach recommences the hunt for this year’s world surfing crown and the unprecedented array of high-performance surfing at Bells Beach today yielded some incredible upsets and astonishing surfing action.
Kelly Slater (USA), 41, 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 1, suffered a shock elimination this morning at the hands of injury replacement Willian Cardoso (BRA), 27.
“You never want to lose and especially in clean waves in the bowl,” Slater said. “I tweaked my back a few days ago and am nowhere near 100% so I have to go get an MRI on it. That said, Willian (Cardoso) smoked me. Plain as that. He was surfing really well and really powerful so congrats to him. We’ll just have to see what happens during the rest of the event with the other top guys. It’s a long year though.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, reigning ASP World Champion and three-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner (2004, 2009, 2011), moved quick to capitalize on Slater’s uncharacteristic loss, posting a 9.10 and a Perfect 10 in the following heat. The incredible scoreline, however, would not be enough to overcome a rampaging Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, who posted a 19.17 to cause the second major upset of the morning.
“No one ever wants to lose,” Parkinson said. “No one wants to lose with a 10 and a 9 either, but Raoni (Monteiro) is surfing really well and if he beats me with those kind of scores then he definitely deserves credit. Losing out at Bells early is a lost opportunity, but it’s a long season ahead. I’m going to regroup and focus on Brazil.”
While Monteiro would ultimately fall to two-time ASP World Champion (2007, 2009) Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, in Round 5, Cardoso continued his juggernaut performance at Bells Beach this afternoon, crushing a Round 4 heat and advancing directly into the Quarterfinals.
“This is a huge day for me,” Cardoso said. “I wasn’t even planning on doing this event. After the Gold Coast and Margaret River, I flew home to Brazil. When I got home, I got the notice that I would be in Bells so flew back here. Kelly (Slater) is a hero of mine so to beat him is very unbelievable for me. To get another win this afternoon is even better. Hope to ring the bell for Brazil.”
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, continued to dominate Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition today, posting an 18.27 in Round 3 and a 19.10 in Round 4 to advance directly into the Quarterfinals.
“Good day at the office for me,” Smith said. “The waves are so fun today. A lot smaller but so clean and plenty coming through. My equipment is feeling really good and I’m excited for a big finish to the event.”
Long considered to be one of the premiere surfers on the planet, Smith has yet to attain an ASP World Title – an omission he’s looking to rectify in 2013.
“Massive upsets today with Kelly (Slater) and Joel (Parkinson) going down early,” Smith said. “Parko was ripping too, huh? Losing with a 10 and a 9? That doesn’t happen very often. It definitely opens up the World Title race though and everyone left in the field will be thinking about it heading into the next few days.”
Other perennial threats to capitalize on the early departures of Slater and Parkinson were Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, and Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, who are both into the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Nat Young (USA), 21, 2013 ASP Dream Tour rookie, continued to display a backhand mastery today, eliminating dangerous veteran Josh Kerr (AUS), 29, with some 11th hour heroics in this afternoon’s Round 5. Needing a solid score in the dying moments, Young sprint paddled into a final wave and unleashed a flurry of backhand cracks to the tune of an 8.50 for the win.
“I can’t believe that wave came through,” Young said. “Kerrzy (Josh Kerr) had priority and I guess he didn’t think either of us could catch it, but I just put my head down and somehow got in there. It was my last chance so I just threw everything I had at it and ended up with the score. To be into the Quarters at Bells is a dream come true and I’ll do my best to bring it home for the goofy-footers.”
Young was joined by fellow rookie Filipe Toledo (BRA), 17, in cracking the Quarterfinals.
When competition resumes, up first will be Kai Otton (AUS), 33, against Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, in the opening Quarterfinal bout.
The 2013 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be webcast LIVE via www.live.ripcurl.com and broadcast live on Fuel TV in Australia and Portugal, ESPN in Brazil and MCS Extreme in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and Africa. You can also watch the event live via the Rip Curl Pro iPhone app, available free in the iTunes App Store.
CoastalWatch, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, have called for: A new long period SSW groundswell fills in during Tuesday ahead of a second, larger pulse arriving on Wednesday morning.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS) QF 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Nat Young (AUS) QF 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS) QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
The Rip Curl Pro is presented by FORD with partners the Victorian Government, Momentum Energy, mophie, Tooheys Extra Dry, Jim Beam, Skullcandy, Red Bull, Telstra, Surf Coast Shire, Surfing Life Magazine, Fuel TV, Ozmosis, Nova, CO2 Australia, Coastalwatch Plus and co-managed by Surfing Victoria.