- World Surf League: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach & Rip Curl Women's Pro Final, Italo Ferreira & Stephanie Gilmore Win
- The 2nd stop on WSL Championship Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and Rip Curl Women's Pro ran Semifinal and Final in clean, five-to-seven foot (1.4 – 2.2 metre) waves at Bells Beach in Australia on March 5, 2018.
Rip Curl Pro Bells watched Italo Ferreira (BRA) claimed his first victory of Championship Tour event. In the final, Italo Ferreira competed against 3-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS). Also for Mick Fanning, whose Heat was the last of his CT career.
Italo Ferreira defeated Ezekiel Lau (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) in Quarterfinal and Semifinal, respectively. Other hand, Mick Fanning eliminated Owen Wright (AUS) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA), advanced to the Final.
Italo Ferreira earned 7.33 and 8.33 points, leading the Heat. But Mick Fanning showcased 8.10 points ride, following Italo Ferreira. Mick Fanning needed to win 7.57 points in around 30 seconds remaining, then big set came, but he did not surf. At the point, he finished runner-up.
Italo Ferreira said after the Final;
“I can’t believe it. That was such a sick heat. I started slow, but after that it was amazing. Mick (Fanning) is one of my favorite surfers in the world. But wow, I can’t believe it. That was unbelievable. I just want to say thank you God and my family and my girlfriend and every guy that has supported me. I’m just so happy that this is my job. I just wanted to make some sick heats. Mick Fanning, he is one of my favorites, he is my hero. Mick is the best competitor, and I just want to say thanks to Mick.
It’s my first win, so I am so happy. I’ve been working hard over the last few years. I remember my first Final with Filipe (Toledo) in Portugal and it was so close, and now I got it. Last year was hard to me with my injury after the Gold Coast being out for two months. It was terrible, and I just tried to work hard and get better. This is the best feeling.”
Meanwhile, Rip Curl Women's Pro witnessed 6-time Wold Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) took the her fourth victory of this event.
She competed against Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in th Final. Stephanie Gilmore defeated the rookie Caroline Marks (USA), who beat current Jeep Leader Lakey Peterson (USA) and Johanne Defay (FRA), in the Semifinal. Tatiana Weston-Webb took down veteran surfer Silvana Lima (BRA) in the Semifinal.
Tatiana Weston-Webb struggled to surf well on beginning of the Heat, while Stephanie Gilmore earned 7.00 and 7.10 points. Tatiana Weston-Webb received 7.37 in second half of the Heat, but needed to win more 5.1 points. Finally, she earned 6.67 points on her last wave, but it was not enough to win.
This marks Stephanie Gilmore moved up to No. 1 of CT 2018 and took a step toward winning a seventh Title.
Stephanie Gilmore said after the Final;
"This is incredible. I visualized so much this morning and yesterday. I could just feel myself winning that bell. It was such an emotional build-up. All the focus is on Mick [Fanning], I felt like I could just sneak in and get a little ding-ding [of the bell], no one would even care, so it took the pressure off.
[After Tati's wave] I thought there would be a miracle wave behind it, because a minute 30 is still a long time. I saw it from behind, I saw her do a couple of floaters, and I thought, 'the judges don't really like floaters at Bells, and I knew a 6.8 was close to the big wave I had in the heat, so I was confident that I would get it.
Tatiana (Weston-Webb) has been on fire this whole event. All the goofy-footers have been — I can’t believe it. You never really think about the goofies, but with Tatiana, you can tell that she has found her confidence and her strength. It’s so impressive to have her step up.”
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
F 1:Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.66 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.83
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.50 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.67
SF 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.00 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.10
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.67 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.44
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.77 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 9.33
QF 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.86 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.50
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.73 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.00
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
F 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.17 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.94
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.00 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 5.10
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.00 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 15.44
- source : World Surf League