The countdown to the 2015 Samsung Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach began the moment the finals buzzer went in Queensland. The ticking clock of facebook posts attempted to drag our attentions away from the Quiksilver event as quickly as possible.
So onward and upwards towards the 54th Bells event, yep that’s right 54, but age is no guarantee on grace and beauty and the bright and shiny WSL suffered again at the hands of ocean. Mother Nature can be so unkind. The WSL can splash cash on her, drown her in glitz and promises to take her around the world in style and how does she reply – meh!
Bells is tricky beast and patience is not just a virtue but an imperative. Those who progressed were those who chose carefully. The second event of the year was plagued by wild and bumping walls that had more in common with boarder cross than surfing and more often it would be foam climbs and layback snaps that got you through rather than razor sharp carves.
The Brazilian tsunami we were promised stalled
The Brazilian tsunami we were promised stalled and while Fanning picked his way through the heats with measured precision it was Kerzy and de Souza who looked like they wanted to get their claws on the famous Bells’ trophy. In fact Medina’s world title seems to have awoken a few individuals to the prospect of their own world titles. Slater, however, has too much on his mind with OuterKnown and Firewire to really bother offering more than a token threat this year while Parko, and in particular Taj Burrows attempted to prove they are still relevant in today’s modern surfing. The labels ‘Old war horse’ and ‘Spent force’ are tiptoeing dangerously close to the pair.
I cannot put my finger on why I find the Australian leg of the tour so very dull. Regardless of the wave quality it leaves me cold year in, year out. I’m not sure what Bells has to offer, if anything, to modern surfing. It’s not the gladiators’ pit of Chopes or Pipe nor the high performance skate park of Trestles or Bali. It has for years felt more like the old geezer who everyone lets tell his tales and do his dad dancing because he built the place.
The Brazilian onslaught slowed and although de Souza would make it through to the finals he was the only South American to progress beyond the quarters. Note to self: Gabs, who was thrashed by Adriano, has, professionally speaking, always been thrashed by Adriano. Did you know that? Not a single heat victory against his countryman. Early on it was the Quilsilver champ Toledo who looked most dangerous but his momentum couldn’t carry him through this time.
Yet it was de Souza who fought through each heat, but regardless of his punches and claims he looked stiff in the face of Fanning’s fluidity. Each of Adrinao’s turns mirrored the previous one where as Mick stood alone. However when the Buzzer went it was a tie, 15.27 a piece but Fanning took it for the fourth time with the highest single wave of 8.17 Decide for yourself…
I’d love to hack like Fanning, even just one turn, but sadly Mick is becoming a benchmark for conservative and, increasingly, non-high performance surfing. That fact that he won Bells for the fourth time, and took the ratings lead with a clear goal of title number five seems somehow to weaken rather than strengthen the appeal of the competitive circuit.
The WSL is not off to a great start and there seems to be little excitement about Margret River even with a huge swell predicated, but one question remains after Bells – What the hell is John John waiting for? An invitation?