The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the most prestigious, longest-running, professional surfing contest in the world, will commence its waiting period tomorrow and the stars of the ASP World Championship Tour are poised for action…
The second of ten events on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour will witness the continuation of the race for the ASP World Title and the elite ASP Top 34 will surf for the honour of ‘ringing the bell’ at the end of the competition.
The current ASP World No. 1 and 2007 Rip Curl Pro winner, Taj Burrow, is fresh off a victory at the season-opening event on the Gold Coast and will look to consolidate his efforts this week at Bells Beach.
“Coming off a win definitely helps in terms of confidence,” said Burrow. “It’s impossible to commit to long-term projections so early in the year, but I definitely want to back myself up with a good result here.”
While Burrow currently sits atop the elite ASP World Championship Tour ratings, the Western Australian admits that the depth of talent within the ASP Top 34 is staggering.
“There are absolutely no easy draws on tour anymore,” said Burrow. “It’s about as elite an ASP Top 34 as you can get and everyone is capable of posting a win. It makes it really exciting to watch and hopefully I can put in some good showings this week.”
Burrow will take on the highly-touted rookie Kolohe Andino and trials winner Nic Muscroft in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
When competition kicks off, up first will be Jordy Smith, Kieren Perrow and Fredrick Patacchia in Heat 1 of Round 1.
Running in conjunction with the men’s event is the second stop on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Four-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current ASP Women’s World No. 1, Stephanie Gilmore, regained her frontrunner status last month with a hometown win on the Gold Coast. The young natural-footer claimed an unprecedented four ASP World Titles from her first four attempts on tour, but last year fell to No. 3 as she was dethroned by Hawaiian sensation Carissa Moore.
“Winning any event on tour is a great feeling, but definitely winning at home and at the opening event of the year is special,” said Gilmore. “Compared with 2011, I’m in a much better place this season. I’m not dealing with any injuries and I’m feeling a lot more relaxed. It’s definitely a different kind of mindset that you experience when you’re the frontrunner as opposed to chasing the frontrunner, and I think that’s played in my favour to start the year off.”
Gilmore will battle rookie Lakey Peterson and wildcard Nikki Van Dijk in the opening round of competition.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will run from April 3-14, 2012 and will be webcast LIVE here.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Brett Simpson (USA), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (AUS), Mick Fanning (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), Damien Hobgood (USA), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 11: Alejo Muniz (BRA), John John Florence (HAW), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
RIP CURL WOMEN’S PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Laura Enever (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Lakey Peterson (USA), Nikki Van Dyke (AUS)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA), Justine Dupont (FRA)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Sarah Mason (NZL)
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