RoadSoda: 2016 Rip Curl Pro Bells, Day 4

_DSC7886Bells woke up like this. Photo: Corey Wilson

You can’t put lipstick on a pig and make it attractive, but what if you add high heels, a miniskirt and a fierce little attitude? Bells Beach is looking particularly pretty today and that’s not an easy statement to come by. Long, open walls reeling down the point, light offshore winds, and a crop of men in Round 4 who have the ability to throw a huge curveball into this year’s ranks.

_DSC7891But first, coffee. Photo: Corey Wilson

9:00 am – Italo opened up the morning with a textbook manhandle, even finishing one of his waves with what was most likely the first ever pop shove-it that Bells has ever seen. Ferreira straight to the quarters, and world number one Matty Wilko out in the water now.

DSC_3103Wilko was in form, but no match for Wiggolly’s wiggle. Photo: Corey Wilson

One of the biggest talking points of the morning is the fact that Mr. Wilkinson, no matter his finish here at Bells, will indeed hang on to the yellow jersey going into Margaret’s. Oh, and Mason Ho just got barreled. You can’t script this?

DSC_3307Mick goes down, but definitely ain’t out. Photo: Corey Wilson

10:30am – The much anticipated heat between Mick Fanning, Jordy Smith, and Conner Conner Coffin didn’t disappoint. It was a game of who can mutilate the rail harder and the heavy-footed prowess of rookie Conner Coffin proved dominant – and not to the fault of a bad heat by Mick or Jordy. All three surfed their brains out, but Conner showed no hesitation in his surfing, which we’ll be seeing more of come the Quarters.

DSC_3282Conner Coffin’s already built himself a humble little start to his first ever CT season. Photo: Corey Wilson

The first two heats of Round 5 made their way out before the round was put on hold to get the Women’s Final in the water. In the first heat, crowd favorite and interview guru Mason Ho went down to a lead-footed Nat Young. Nat had a stronghold on the heat and showed no sign of letting go.

In the second Round 5 heat, ‘Ol Matty Boy Wilko came through clutch once again in a nailbiter against Jules Wilson. Two minutes hung from the clock as Willy took off on his final wave, needing a 9.57, and guess what he got. A f**king 9.57. Ice in his veins, wiggle in his hips, and a newfound fire between the ears. We know he has the skill, it’s just all about keeping that confidence rolling into the quarters.

_DSC7998The prettiest battlefield out there. Photo: Corey Wilson

The Women’s Final saw California Courtney Conlogue against Sally Fitz in a back and forth battle of hi-fi lady hacks. Eights were dropped here, nines were dropped there, but in the end, Courtney’s strength on the rail gave her the nod by a mere .10. This victory meant that much more to Court after her injury here two years ago that kept her from making a worthy run at the bell.

The favorable conditions should stick around tomorrow as there’s a good chance we’ll see the mens event venture into the final rounds. There’s no telling who has this thing in the bag, so tune back in here tomorrow for more inside coverage.