Old & New Collide At Rip Curl Pro As Steph Gilmore Rings Fourth Bell
EVENT // 2018 RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH
Caroline Marks Meets Steph Gilmore & Forces Gear Change At Rip Curl Pro
Last week I took a look at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach draw and there was something about Caroline Marks that just stood out. Like jumped out of the page at me. There’s no doubt she’s one of the strongest surfers on the roster this year and with a solid first event fifth place finish at Snapper, I was confident with her in my team at Bells. So there she was. And by day three of the event, she was my only team member left. This event really messed with a lot of people’s Fantasy Surfer teams, on the men’s and women’s side.
Today was always going to be a special day. Mick Fanning #cheersmick drew crowds that created a harmonised ooooooh and aaahhhhh for every turn on a wave. It echoed up the ‘natural amphitheatre’ that is Bells Beach.
There’s something about Steph Gilmore. When she’s on, there’s a fire in her eyes. She’s easily and self-admittedly fiercely driven by competition. In 2017 she pushed back into finishing in the runner-up position, so close to winning her seventh world title and today at Bells, we saw her kick a gear into place that will potentially get her to that place.
It seemed perfect that Steph came up against Caroline in the semi-finals. I had a feeling all week that Caroline would crush all opponents on her way to winning a CT event at the start of her rookie year. But as Hells Bells blasted through the amps this morning Steph Gilmore’s face lit up and her arms bladed through the water of the Southern Ocean into the lineup with a passive confidence. Caroline Marks, the youngest ever championship tour qualifier came up against one of the greatest, one of the most admired and stylish female surfers of our time. And she crushed her.
There’s one thing for sure, that is that having Caroline Marks (now in #3) on tour has signified a dynamic change in the top 17. This could be the most highly contested world tour year ever.
Steph Gilmore loves the colour yellow. It became her favourite colour at the transition from ASP to WSL when it signified the Jeep Leader of the championship tour.
In the finals, she wore blue against Hawaii’s Tatiana Weston-Webb. It was a final that could have gone to Tatiana, who will this year be in contention for the world title. She’s flicked a switch and that insane verticle backhand is going to get her, if not a CT event win, very close.
In the last minute of the finals, Steph Gilmore was in the lead. A set wave came, Steph assumed there would be a better wave behind the first. Tatiana took the first and caught it into the shore, it looked like it had the meat of Steph’s last wave. Steph watched Tati float between sections, she saw the spray from the back. Her magical second wave didn’t come. As the hooter sounded the judges stalled. Tati walked up the beach with a grin and a slight inkling she’d get the score. But she didn’t.
Today Steph Gilmore got her fave colour jersey back. She’s the world number one leading into the Margaret River Pro and she’s damn happy about it. She also got to stand on stage with her hometown compadre, Mick Fanning, who also shares her shaper Darren Handley (DHD). The two cooly kids rang their bells as record crowds were absorbed into the historic moment. #cheersmick.
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.17
2 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.94
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.00 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 5.10
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.00 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 15.44
2018 WSL Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14,745 pts
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 13,085 pts
3 – Caroline Marks (USA) 10,830 pts
4 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 9,490 pts
5 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 9,190 pts
5 – Keely Andrew (AUS) 9,190 pts