March 26, 2024

Surfing begins

The opening day of competition has been called on at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy, stop four on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT).

Today’s (Tuesday, March 26) early rounds have been graced with clean surf in the four-to-six-foot range.

The men’s Opening Round started at 8am, with the women’s Opening Round and Men’s Elimination Round to follow.

The first heat of the day will see Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) take on two competitors in their first appearances at Bells, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and CT Rookie Kade Matson (USA).
Heat 3 will be a must-watch with 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) taking on two-time World Champion John John Florence (HAW) and Seth Moniz (HAW). Slater and Florence will look to add another Bell to their list of CT wins, while Moniz continues to search for his first.

Caroline Marks (USA), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), and Sophie McCulloch (AUS) will battle in Heat 2 of the Women’s Opening Round. Marks will be looking to capitalize on her strong backhand surfing as she looks for her maiden win at Bells.

Local hero India Robinson (AUS) will compete in Heat 5 today. The 23-year-old will work to climb back up the rankings this week, and now in familiar territory at her home break. She will be against 2024 standout Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) and CT veteran Lakey Peterson (USA).

Heat 3 will be an all-Australian affair featuring World No. 1 Molly Picklum (AUS), Isabella Nichols (AUS), and Trial’s winner Ellie Harrison (AUS). Nichols made the Quarterfinals at Sunset Beach and looks to carry this momentum through to back up her best result at Bells, a third-place finish.

Tyler Wright (AUS) will round out the last women’s heat of the day against Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and two-time event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Wright has won this event back-to-back the past two seasons, and all eyes will be on her opening heat to see if she can bring the same momentum for a third-straight win here at Bells.

Read Surf Coast Times story here.

Image credit: Eleven-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater surfs in an Expression Session yesterday, at Bells Beach ahead of today’s opening round. Photo: AARON HUGHES/WSL

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