Men’s Mid Rounds At 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells

All Photos: Jimmicane

You may kiss the tide
Tide plays the lead role in the story of Bells Beach — and she put on a Golden Globe worthy performance today. From the opening scene to the credits, she had the crowd oohed and ahhed as they chowed popcorn on the edge of their seats. First, we saw low tide majesty. The Bells Bowl was simply pleasurable, hardly even frayed by a side-offshore breeze. And later, at high tide, we saw the damsel known as Rincon in her prettiest sundress. It was a long day (16 heats) and it was a good day (the best so far)!

Put a ring on it
Everybody wants to give the bell a nice ring — they like it that much. They just gotta get through Round 3 first. That wasn’t much of a task for some…

Adam Melling: We’ll stop comparing him to Mick Fanning now. Melling surfed like a brawny, blue-collared wild animal this morning — powerful and punctuated. He surfed like Adam Melling. We dug it.
Gabriel Medina: Gabe VS Bede, how polarizing is that Round 3 heat? Both guys ripped and the judges were forced to choose a school of surfing. Luckily, Gabriel didn’t give them very much of a choice.
John John Florence: He surfed well…more on him in minute.
Jordy Smith: Jordy is a certified moose — who gets eight totally warranted points for two turns? Jordy does. Four points per turn ain’t a bad ratio, and Jordy Smith ain’t a bad man.
Julian Wilson: The contest went on hold for an hour and a half while the tide came up and Rincon got its shit together. Julian Wilson happened to surf against Miguel Pupo in the first heat at the Con. He assured contest directors that they made the right call, coming .07 points shy of a perfect score at his finest moment. Applause.

How fun is Round 4? So fun. Like Round 1, it’s a no losers Round. But like Round 3, everyone has already built some momentum. It’s a cocktail of both worlds, served ice-cold with the umbrella of a three-man priority system. These men enjoyed the libation today…

Taj Burrow: Couple turns, couple airs, couple extra gallons in the take for a deep run cause we won’t be seeing TB in the peasant’s Round 5. Extra sprinkles for defeating Adriano, who’s been on one hell of a tear lately.
John John Florence: Oh right, John. So he got a 10 today — the first perfect score of 2014. It came from above, in the form of a full rotation twirl more tweaked than an involuntary participant in Dog The Bounty Hunter. Then he did a layback, mostly for good measure. And he did it in a heat against Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina — how good did that feel?
Joel Parkinson: 16.66 never felt so sleepy…Just kidding, kind of. Parko threw a few mallets today, but it was nothing new from the 2012 champ. Maybe he’s saving all the surprises for the final?
Mick Fanning: Mick has been every morning’s earliest bird, paddling out before the coffee is even brewed. He’s getting paid dividends on this investment — especially if you categorize an eight-point ride as a dividend. Which we do.

Barring any catastrophic decline in surf conditions, we’ll see either the men’s or the women’s competition get to an early start at Bells Beach. Bring an extra coffee for Mick. And maybe a couple of twizzlers for John.
—Brendan Buckley