Did You Think Anybody Else Was Gonna Win?

by Tim Hawken April 17, 2022 5 min read

Harry Mann didn’t.

The 37-day-long Bells Classic ends on Easter Sunday. Conditions were eggy.

Here’s a snapshot:

  • Tyler Wright combos Carissa Moore to take home her first Bells win
  • Filipe Toledo flies to his first historic Bells trophy
  • Callum Robson does underdogs everywhere proud with a second
  • Filipe and Carissa take yellow jerseys going into West Oz
  • Courtney Conlogue’s semi moves her above the cut-line going into Margarets
Tyler’s wave selection was impeccable all day, leading to her comboing Carissa in the final. Photo: WSL/Sloane

Two New Names Added To Surf History

The Bells trophy has two brand new names added to its honor roll with Tyler Wright and Filipe Toledo taking out the 59th Anniversary Eggy Aikau today. Lackluster conditions couldn’t dampen the excitement on the sand for surf fans, with Easter Sunday crowds maxing out space on the beach. 

The big story was Tyler Wright’s emotional win. She admitted on the podium that she’s had moments in the last few years when she’s nearly quit; but all the blood, sweat, and tears have now paid off.

“There were so many times when I’ve almost given up to get back to this type of form…I worked so hard to be here…I’m beyond stoked.”

A rare treat to see that kind of emotional win. To cap it off she was chaired by her brothers Owen and Mikey up the beach. I’m not crying, you’re crying. 

It’s Tyler’s first Bell as well. Photo: WSL/Sloane

Come-ups

Peak performance: Tyler Wright 16.93 in the women’s final
Hit replay: Both finals were epic to watch.
Monster maneuver:Callum Robson’s semi-final air to make the final (5 min 20 second condensed replay)
One-liner:“This event is special. It’s the only one I want to win…” – Tyler Wright a week ago after her very first post-heat win interview. Manifest your destiny.

Filipe Toledo was the big performer today aside from Tyler. Catching waves that were one-third the quality of his competitor’s, Filipe nailed an early six in the final and backed it up with 8.17, which he finished with an oop to rev combo in blistering offshore winds.

Callum Robson put up a solid fight though, coming back with a 7.77 from raw power hacks to stay in contention the entire way. In the end it wasn’t enough, and Fil closed out the final with a day-late birthday present of $80K and a yellow jersey to wear on the short flight to WA.

Callum Robson’s honesty also won a few hearts on the podium when Joe asked him about his career plans before he made tour. “I started a carpentry apprenticeship with my dad and realised how much that sucked, so went all out on surfing.”

The other big score to hunt out on the replays is Tyler’s final opener of an 8.93. Savage turn after savage turn sent the crowd roaring. She was without a doubt the form surfer this whole event with multiple excellent scores.

Carissa, crazily, didn’t crack an eight the entire contest. Her board choice on finals day didn’t seem great either. Who goes an EPS core in hard offshore winds? PU all the way baby. Despite getting comboed in the final, Carissa still claimed a solid second, also taking the yellow jersey back off Brisa Hennessy.

Whatever board this was, Riss shoulda rode it in the final. Despite the loss, she’s now sitting at number one in the world. Photo: Sloane/WSL

Let-downs

In the gutter:Ethan Ewing scoring a 4.1 point total in Men’s Semi 1
Blind mice:Surf forecasters and contest directors calling today would be peak Bells
Say what?:“Mooooo, woooooo” – Kaipo sounding like an orgasmic cow hooting Filipe from the jetski in Semi 1.

Let’s face it. Yesterday was 4-6ft and offshore pretty much all day at Bells. It was a bit slow and high tide a lot of the day, but 45-minute heats would have seen plenty of chances for all competitors. Instead, the surf forecasters and contest directors swirled their crystal beer bottles and went ‘tomorrow will be better!’

Nope.

Instead, the finals were run in 2ft, wobbly, windy Rincon. I really don’t envy the contest director’s job. 

To be fair, it did start well this morning before the tide and wind turned men’s semi one into a shocker. On paper, it should have been a firecracker. Filipe’s first wave saw him throw double air reverses at bumpy Rincon. Kaipo was hooting like an excited cow on the jetski in the channel. The judges weren’t quite as impressed though and gave him a 6. 

Not where we wanted to end the event, but at least it’s over. Photo: WSL

Ethan barely even got a chance. He sat alone in the Bowl almost the entire heat. One tiny wave came for a 3.44, keeping him in with a chance. In the dying seconds, he was given another opportunity but it was an average one. A major shame considering how much he ripped the entire event. Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress sometimes. 

The directors quickly called off the next semi, going on hold for the tide to fill right in for proper Rincon conditions. A reasonable call. It could be better tomorrow, but tough to pull the pin with an Easter Sunday crowd of thousands on the beach waiting for action.

In the end, we can bask in the memory of the epic surf in the middle rounds and the highlights of the finals.

Imagine surfing this well and not being able to catch a wave. Would be infuriating. Photo: WSL

Miscellanea

One of the coolest side stories of the day was Callum Robson making the final. Not just because of his surfing, but because of how he’s been making his way on tour. The ultimate Aussie underdog, Callum has been supported financially by local businesses and people from his hometown of Evans Head (along with sponsors Modom and Dragon). He doesn’t have a major sticker on his board, yet has still been giving back a percentage of his prize money to flood-affected families in his town too. What. A Legend. Today’s second place purse of $45,000 will for sure be a welcome injection into his bank account/travel fund. 

Callum, Ethan Ewing, Miggy Pupo, and Jack Robbo have all cemented their spots beyond the mid-season cut with solid results too, joining the likely contenders like Filipe, Italo, Kelly, Kanoa, Seth, Griffin and wildcard Barron Mamiya as sure things. Meanwhile surprises like Jordy, Kolohe and 2021 top 5 finishers Conner Coffin and Morgan Cibilic will all be fighting for their spot at Margaret River after less-than-stellar results in Victoria.

Only four women have guaranteed their chances to survive the mid-year cut on the women’s side with Carissa, Tyler, Brisa and Lakey all sure things. Courtney has improved her chances with her semi-final win, but it’s open season at Margaret River to see who will be flying to Indonesia and who will be changing their travel plans to hit up Snapper Rocks for the Challenger series.

For now though, the focus is on Margarets. Action kicks off there in just one week!

“See ya at Snapper?” Photo; WSL

Gamble Ramble

Mikey C’s Final Day picks on Betonline.ag

– Courtney Conlogue over Tyler Wright at +115 (I bet $10 to win $11) LOSS

– Brisa Hennessy over Carissa Moore at +400 (I bet $5 to win $20) LOSS

– Filipe Toledo over Ethan Ewing at -140 (I bet $50 to win $35) WIN

– Jack Robinson over Callum Robson at -250 (I bet $50 to win $20) LOSS

– Carissa Moore over Tyler Wright at -135 (I bet $50 to win $37) LOSS

– Before the event started, I picked Filipe Toledo to win the whole comp at +700 (I bet $40 to win $280) WIN

Day 7 earnings:$200 

Overall event earnings:$337

Confidence is getting your finals wetsuit ready pre-semi. Also, thanks for the stacks, Fil. Photo: WSL/Sloane

Results

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