April 13, 2023

Bells 60 year bonanza

The sun has set on the 60th anniversary of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, with Australian pair Ethan Ewing and Tyler Wright ringing the bell in 2023.

For 24-year-old Ethan Ewing, his first bell is the most special of his young career, joining his late mother Helen Lambert (1983 event winner) as champion of the fabled event.

In the women’s field, Tyler Wright’s fierce approach throughout the entirety of the tournament stood out from the rest, rewarding her with back-to-back titles and a second seed on the rankings heading into Margaret River later this month.

At the pointy of the event, in clean conditions at Winkipop, local Cinderella story Xavier Huxtable came unstuck in Round 16, and only two athletes remained in each the men’s and women’s field.

The men’s finals draw featured two first timers; Australian powerhouse Ethan Ewing was pitted against goofy footed dynamo Ryan Callinan.

While world number one Molly Picklum set her sights on another event win, but had a tough assignment against reigning champion Tyler Wright.

With four Australians in the finals of a Championship Tour event at Bells for the first time since 1991, the stage was set for two thrilling finishes.

In the men’s final, Ethan Ewing asserted his dominance from the outset and was able to leave Callinan in his wake with a 6.83 and a champagne 7.67 scoring ride for some fierce forehand manoeuvres.

While Callinan threw everything he had, it was pure elation when the buzzer sounded for Ewing who took home his second career Championship Tour victory and the fourth seed heading into the next event.

Tyler Wright’s devastating attack on Winkipop continued in the women’s field, scoring an 8.17 and a 7.83 to put Picklum behind the 8-ball in what was a one-sided finale.

While Picklum fought back hard with a host of mid-range scores, the reigning champion in Wright looked at her absolute best and marched on to ring the bell for the second time in her career.

Thanks to her strong result at Bells Beach, Wright moves up to number two in the world, while Picklum holds firm in the yellow jersey at the top of the rankings as the tour heads to Western Australia.

The Surf Coast will now catch its breath before the 61st Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach rolls into town in April 2024.

Read Surf Coast Times story here.

Image: From left, Ryan Callinan (men’s runner-up), Ethan Ewing (men’s winner), Tyler Wright (women’s winner) and Molly Picklum (women’s runner-up). Photos: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES

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