Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, has claimed her maiden tour win at the 50th Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, presented by Ford Fiesta, over current World Tour leader Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, in solid 3-4 foot conditions at Rincon. Getting off to a fabulous start, Fitzgibbons posted scored an overall 16.77 (out of 20), demonstrating a high degree of focus for the prestigious Bells trophy.
Throughout the event, Fitzgibbons secured excellent scores, getting through round 1 easily, and then striking difficulty against Coco Ho in round 3. Luckily, the new format enabled Fitzgibbons to surf again in an elimination heat in round 4.
The Quarter finals loomed, and Fitzgibbons faced Ho again. This time, Fitzgibbons showed Ho who is boss, with an 18.56. She then progressed to the Semi’s and knocked out 4x World Champion Steph Gilmore with a score of 18.37, leaving Gilmore needing an 18.38 combination (two waves equaling 18.38) in order to take the lead. After her Semifinal with Gilmore, Fitzgibbons said “it’s one of the days Rincon can be your best friend or worst nightmare”. Clearly, today Rincon and Fitzgibbons were best friends.
With unstoppable wave riding, and progressive surfing, Fitzgibbons had the top two highest wave scores for the women’s competition, a 9.93 and 9.83 (both round 4), and also secured the top three highest totals, with 18.83 (round 4), 18.56 (Quarters) and 18.37 (Semis).
Let’s not forget Carissa Moore. Hailing from Oahu’s north shores in Hawaii, Moore had a decent run through the heats, with only a slight scare in round 1, finishing second to Pauline Ado (FRA), but beating Grom Search winner and wild card entrant Nikki Van Dijk (AUS). With her highest combination score of 18.23 in round two, the Quicksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks winner, was looking for her consecutive tour title.
With the girls having surfed numerous times over the course of the day, the ever so fit Sally Fitzgibbons, who ‘couldn’t feel her arms and legs’ struggled to hold the massive Bell trophy above her head. ‘You’ve got to win it to ring it’ is how the show rolls at Bells.
The men completed round 4 today, with big boys Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Jordy Smith and Kelly Slater progressing straight to the Quarters, whilst 2nd and 3rd will battle it out in round 5 for their spot in the Quarters.
With the women’s competition over, the guys and gals now part ways, with the girls next stop in Taranaki New Zealand, for the Subaru Pro TBS Bank Women’s Surf Festival (April 27th – May 1st). The men will be heading to Rio de Janerio, Brazil for the Billabong Pro (May 11th – 22nd).
Be sure to tune into www.life.ripcurl.com tomorrow from 7am for all the live of round 5 and finals action at Bells. Images courtesy of Rip Curl.