Defending champion Adrian De Souza proves that Bells is a marathon not a sprint.
“Michel Bourez needs a 7.53 to take the lead.” These were the words I first heard strolling into the Winki Pop car park that snapped me out of delirium. Glenn Hall was less than three minutes away from taking the scalp of Michel Bourez in the first heat on Easter Sunday.
I half jogged toward the fence and stared straight into the Bells bowl as Glenn Hall was stroking into the final wave of the heat. With less than a minute to go he had snuck a wave under priority, leaving Bourez stranded. Why the Tahitian didn’t turn and go had left me dumbfounded. There was no time to be selective. It was a huge mistake from Bourez and although Micro didn’t improve his score the victory lap would feel very satisfying.
He may be the height of a jockey – 5”5 to be exact – but Glenn Hall has a heart the size of Phar Lap according to friend and trainer, Matt King. Six weeks ago he was still riding a mal, unable to surf in the pocket, and still trying to wrangle with the uncertainty of whether he would ever surf another heat on the dream tour. His gutsy performance today showed that despite all obstacles he’s faced he still has the determination to succeed.
“It’s been really slow steps and I’ve got a long way to go to be honest. I’ve only surfed twice in one day a few times so I was glad when they called it off yesterday. It’s a lot about pain management at the moment but I’ll be fine,” said Hall.
Adriano De Souza knows you have to win it to ring it and that it doesn’t come down to luck. Bells is a marathon not a sprint and Adriano has been spending a lot of time freesurfing and familiarising himself again with the tricky Bells conditions.
Today he blasted his way through Round 2 against a desperate Brett Simpson. His turns were more critical and he possessed a superior heat strategy, something he lacked in Margaret River. Conditions were perfect with a 3-4 foot swell perfectly groomed by WNW winds making for sheet glass corduroy.
Brett Simpson is a world-class surfer but he has struggled to find any form this year. The Huntington beach local may go well in the sloppy, Californian points and piers but on the ‘CT he consistently stumbles and draws the danger guys that extinguish his hopes and dreams. Confidence is what Simpson seems to struggle with and another 33rd will again add to the chinks in his armour.
“To be honest I just pay attention to the next round to the whole event. Let’s see what I can do in the next round. Round 3 is a tough round so from there we’ll see what happens,” said De Souza post heat.
Kolohe Andino is sprinting toward the fabled Bells stairs. His eyes are down and he looks as if he could explode. There will be no autographs for the grom squad today. He comes charging up the beach, spits on the grainy sand and throws his head around like a bull – the steam almost visible from his nostrils. He has just lost to Adam Melling and is clearly enraged.
The pair exchanged power carves and man hacks as the offshore wind sent plumes of water into the bluebird sky. Surfing angry Kolohe dug deep dropping a 7.5 on his opening wave. Melling answered back, showing why so many Australian surfers do well here with their familiarity of the lineup a testament to the years of experience they have had surfing here on the junior series.
As the heat is winding down and behind and under priority, Kolohe makes a beeline towards Rincon. He strokes into the biggest wave of the set, bottom turns into the wave of the heat but hits the eject button as Melling uses his priority, holds of Kolohe from any scoring opportunity and adds to the fury of his Round 1 loss against Kelly Slater.
“He probably would have got it from where he was. I was pretty glad I darted up there. I’d seen a couple from up at Rincon and that one went all the way through so I wasn’t going to give him an inch. He was pretty fired up I think from that last heat with Kelly and I wasn’t going to give him anything.”
The Rip Curl Women’s Pro also flew through rounds 2 & 3 this afternoon and the girls are on standby for a morning call.
Tune into Fuel TV’s coverage of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and check out all the latest news on the Fuel TV Facebook page.
All photos ASP/Cestari