“It’s the best trophy you can win in surfing” -Kelly Slater
It’s a great change that’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. With the Rd. 1 call at the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach about to be made, we finally get to watch a webcast without having to sit through the typically unexciting and anti-climatic loser’s round that has been Rd. 2. The Bells Beach event will be the first ASP World Tour event to switch to the new format, essential eliminating a full day’s worth of competition and keeping the opening round of momentum rolling on with less chance of interruption. The top 16 surfers from last year’s final rankings won’t surf until the new Rd. 2, and from there it goes Rd. 3 and on to the quarterfinals, semi’s, and finals.
Good on Rip Curl for making the choice to implement the new format. “I think the new format will be a great addition to the Dream Tour,” said current world no. 2 Adriano de Souza. “It allows us to capitalize on three-day swell cycles and allows us to compete in the best possible conditions. I’m stoked to be seeded into Round 2 all season, but it could have its positives and negatives. I won’t have to worry about finishing in last place, but I won’t get a warm-up round to surf in. Everything is serious from the start.”
In the grand scheme of things, the historic event at Bells serves as a good barometer for what’s likely to take place on tour for the rest of the year. While the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper is a solid place for a surfer to launch a run for a world title, following up a stellar result on the Gold Coast with a poor showing at Bells kind of puts you back at square 1. Quik Pro. winner Joel Parkinson knows this, and following his 2 day long celebration of his win at Snapper, Parko got back to his ‘man on a mission’ surfing regimen. “After the Quik Pro, I spent two days partying with my family and friends, then got straight in to training the following week and for the last week or so I have been surfing non stop,” Parkinson said.
Following Kelly Slater’s 17th at the Quiksilver Pro, a lot of the talk has surrounded his choice of equipment. His self-made 5′4″, for whatever reason, just didn’t get him the scores that he is used to. Heading into Bells, and in true Slater fashion, Kelly remained noncommittal when asked about his potenetial board of choice for the event. “I’m not sure what my choice is until I hit the water,” Slater said. “I like trying new things but I also like to win heats when I travel halfway around the world. You also have to stick with directions that you choose to go if they have potential for something. I’m still working things out. I’m not altogether unhappy with my performance on the Gold Coast, just the result.”
Rd. 1 of the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is on it’s way, you can catch all of the action HERE.