In an amazing showing yesterday, Courtney Conlogue and John John Florence are winners of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach stop number two on the World Surf League Championship Tour.
After dominating their respective fields in picturesque six to eight foot conditions at Bells Beach.
Conlogue rang the coveted Bells trophy for her third time, while Florence clinched his first Bells title.
Celebrating its 58th year running and Rip Curl’s 50th anniversary, this year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach culminated in the some of the biggest conditions the event has seen since 1981.
After an injury-plagued 2018 season and a 9th place result at Stop No. 1 on the Gold Coast, Conlogue is back on top of the podium after winning her third Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title. Conlogue surfed well through the early rounds, but then came into her own on the last two days in the massive surf, standing out from the rest of the field with her committed and critical turns.
“What an event! I went from being out of rhythm with the ocean to the ocean being in the kind of rhythm I enjoy,” Conlogue said. “I was trying to contain my ‘grom froth’ watching the waves all day. It feels incredible to get another Bell, they’re not easy to come by. Every single Bell has its own special path and journey that got me it and this one was definitely an amazing one to win.”
Conlogue defeated fellow Californian Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Semifinal and went on to meet Malia Manuel (HAW) in the Final where she earned the year’s first Perfect 10 to secure her win at Stop No. 2. This was Conlogue’s second win over Manuel in a Final. The win moves Conlogue from 9th to 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“The conditions were amazing today and it was great to share the Final with Malia,” continued Conlogue. “It was unreal. She’s been surfing spectacularly this whole competition. When I heard she got an 8-point ride I was like, ‘It’s on’. To come back and post a Perfect 10 felt so amazing. My team means everything and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Also carrying an injury for the majority of the 2018 season was two-time WSL Champion Florence. Florence returned to competition with a bang, finishing in 3rd on the Gold Coast and now winning his maiden Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title. Florence’s trademark power and finesse perfectly matched the huge walls of the last two days.
“It’s a surreal feeling to have won this event,” Florence said. “Especially an event like this where we started at Winki with small waves then to how big it was yesterday and then just totally perfect today. There have been so many different faces and challenges and then surfing against Filipe (Toledo) is always pretty scary.”
In addition to the conditions, the win was not without its fierce opponents as Florence overcame two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Quarterfinals, 2017 event winner Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Semifinals, and Brasilian contender Filipe Toledo (BRA) in the Final. Florence’s win gives him his career’s best start to the season and he will head to the Corona Bali Protected wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey, a frightening prospect for the rest of the men’s CT.
“This was definitely the most testing Finals Day of my career,” continued Florence. “From how big it was yesterday to the matchups today, it was really tiring and needed a lot of energy for the two heats yesterday and three heats today. I was just trying to surf my best and focus on myself, and it worked out. I couldn’t have done it without my team and my family. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in Torquay for letting us surf your waves. It’s been so fun.”