Mark 'Occy' Occhilupo of Australia surfs in the WSL Heritage Heat during the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach at Bells Beach on April 25, 2019 in Victoria, Australia.
What a day at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach with surf forecasters sending shivers down our spine with a swell teaser for great conditions set for today.
Followed by a matchup for the ages with Two of the greatest surfers of the 1980s and 1990s, Mark ‘Occy’ Occhilupo(1999 World Champion) and Tom Curren (three-time World Champion in 1985, 1986, 1990), in the Heritage Heat at Bells Beach.
Throughout their competitive careers, Occy and Curren were great rivals. Their competitiveness with each other was highlighted with a superheat at the 1986 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semifinals with superb low tide conditions and a capacity crowd. Wave-for-wave, both surfers pushed each other in a battle that witnessed Curren take the narrowest of victories. Curren went on to win the World Title that year, while Occy drifted out of competitive surfing for almost a decade and made a great comeback to win at Bells and win the World Title in 1999.
Both Occy and Curren are regarded as some of the greatest surfers at Bells and did not disappoint in their heat again today. Occy’s famed backhand sealed a big win for all his fellow Australians in attendance, overcoming Curren’s signature style. The three-time World Champion made an interesting board change midway through the highly-anticipated duel, giving him more flair, but it was not enough to defeat Occy.
“That was so epic and so much fun,” Occhilupo said. “Tom (Curren) and I have been waiting for that heat all week. There was a bit of anticipation building seeing each other in the water and around the place, and it felt good to take the heat. Before that heat, we had 10 wins each against each other and now it’s 11 to me and 10 to him, so I’m stoked.”
Competition has been called on Today with Women’s Quarterfinals and Men’s Round 32 and 16, The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be broadcast Live on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL