WORLD SURF LEAGUE
Location: Bells Beach, Victoria/AUS
Event window: March 24 – April 5, 2016
World’s Best Surfers Prepare for Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
The second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, is set to commence this week with the world’s best surfers, including South Africa’s Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag, converging on the hallowed surfing ground in the Australian State of Victoria.One of the longest-running professional surf contests in the world, the event originally took place in 1962 and has paid prize-money since 1973. This season’s window, from Thursday March 24th through April 5th, will serve as the second of the three-stop Australian leg of the WSL Championship Tour and pick up from last week’s kickoff on the Gold Coast.
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS) lead the elite men’s and women’s fields respectively heading into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, following major victories at the opening stop at Snapper Rocks.Wilkinson, who is into his seventh season competing against the world elite, collected his maiden CT win on the Gold Coast and wears the yellow Jeep WSL Leader Jersey at Bells Beach this coming week. Long regarded as one of the most naturally-talented surfers on tour, Wilkinson’s former aversion to training and fully leveraging his talents has been significantly reversed in 2016, in large part due to his relationship with coach, former CT surfer, Glenn Hall. “We’ve found a good balance over the last few months,” Wilkinson said. “Glenn (Hall) has helped me realized that I don’t want to wonder if I could have done better on tour. I’m still having a lot of fun, but I’m taking better care of myself and that has translated into results. Hoping to keep it going at Bells and hope we get some fun waves.”
Matt Wilkinson (left) and Tyler Wright (right) lead the world’s best surfers to Stop No. 2 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, this coming week. -Photo By: WSL / Cestari / Kirstin
Wright, an annual threat for the WSL Title since her CT inception in 2011, was untouchable at the opening event on the Gold Coast and has her sights firmly set on attaining the, as yet, elusive world surfing crown. “I’m focused this year,” Wright said. “2015 was a bit of an off year for me and I’ve had a few close years on tour with regards to the title, but that’s my goal for my next few seasons. 2016 is off to a good start and I aim to keep it rolling at Bells.”
After an early exit and 25th place finish in the opening event, Smith will be relishing the opportunity to get his world title campaign back on track at Bells Beach, a venue where he has reached the semifinals on three occasions.
Buitendag, who finished ninth on the Gold Coast, will also be keen to post a better result in the long right-handers and keep pace with the women’s rankings leaders after posting a career best No. 4 ranking at the end of the 2015 CT season.
Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning WSL Champions, are both past winners at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and will be dangerous when competition gets underway this week. Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion and four-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner, has stated that 2016 will be a ‘personal year’ for him and he will take some time off following the Bells Beach event. The iconic Australian, however, is still considered a heavy favorite in the myriad conditions that Bells Beach can throw at competitors.
A number of injury withdrawals have shaken up the competitive draw at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. On the men’s side, Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS) and Alejo Muniz (BRA) remain out of action resulting from their 2015 injuries. Their positions will once again be taken by Adam Melling (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) respectively. Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Jack Freestone (AUS) have withdrawn due to recent injuries and are replaced by Hawaiians Mason Ho and Dusty Payne respectively.
On the women’s side, Lakey Peterson (USA) remains out of competition following her pre-season ankle injury. Her position will once again be filled by Bronte Macaulay (AUS).
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.
The event is also being carried by our LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, Starhub, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.
For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), TBD
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW), TBD
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), TBD
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (HAW)
Heat 10: Nat Young (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Chelsea Tuach (BRB)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS), TBD
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 6: Joanne Defay (FRA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
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