The Rip Curl Pro was again postponed this morning due to extremely unfavorable surf conditions. The prestigious event on the Foster’s ASP men’s World Championship Tournament (WCT) only requires four days to be completed, with the generous waiting period running through until April 16.
Bells Beach was all whitecaps this morning, with strong onshore winds doing little to increase the tiny half-foot (0.4m) waves. A new swell pulse is expected tomorrow, with organizers making the next decision by 7am (local time).
World #23 Nathan Hedge (Narrabeen, AUS) was onsite in the pre-dawn darkness, but instead of charging into the lineup as the Rip Curl team rider typically does, he remained rugged up in warm clothes to fight off the chill. The powerful goofy footer is in the opening heat of round one, together with fellow Australian Dean Morrison (Gold Coast) and California’s Pat O’Connell.
“Well, it’s pretty much unsurfable, reasoned Hedge, of conditions. “I always love getting out there early in the dark. Waking up at Bells is pretty exciting, running down the steps when there are some cranking lines coming through. I’m in the first heat, but today it’s a no go.
The Rip Curl Pro is Australia’s longest running professional surfing contest and holds a proud place in surfing folklore, stretching back to 1973. The Rip Curl Pro’s status as one of six Victorian Government-designated Hallmark Events each year, alongside the Melbourne Formula One and Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian Tennis Open, the Melbourne Cup and the AFL Grand Final, is an acknowledgment of its contribution to the state’s rich sporting culture.
The 32nd annual Rip Curl Pro would not be possible without the support given by Surfing Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire Council, the Victorian Department of Tourism, Sport & The Commonwealth Games, and the Association of Surfing Professionals, plus the supporting sponsorship of Nintendo, Coca-Cola, Triple M, Tracks, Nokia, Telstra, Falls Creek, Frankston Yamaha and Beaumont’s.
Upcoming Rip Curl Pro Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Dean Morrison (AUS); Nathan Hedge (AUS); Pat O’Connell (USA)
H2: Cory Lopez (USA); Kalani Robb (HAW); Sunny Garcia (HAW)
H3: Mick Lowe (AUS); Luke Egan (AUS); Bruce Irons (HAW)
H4: Taylor Knox (USA); Richie Lovett (AUS); Eric Rebiere (FRA)
H5: Kieren Perrow (AUS); Neco Padaratz (BRA); Greg Emslie (ZAF)
H6: Joel Parkinson (AUS); Paulo Moura (BRA); Troy Brooks (AUS)
H7: Mick Fanning (AUS); Peterson Rosa (BRA); Luke Hitchings (AUS)
H8: Andy Irons (HAW); Victor Ribas (BRA); Ben Dunn (AUS)
H9: Kelly Slater (USA); CJ Hobgood (USA); Adam Robertson (AUS)
H10: Taj Burrow (AUS); Guilherme Herdy (BRA); Zane Harrison (AUS)
H11: Jake Paterson (AUS); Chris Davidson (AUS); Tim Curran (USA)
H12: Phil MacDonald (AUS); Lee Winkler (AUS); Toby Martin (AUS)
H13: Damien Hobgood (USA); Darren O’Rafferty (AUS); Armando Daltro (BRA)
H14: Danny Wills (AUS); Nathan Webster (AUS); Trent Munro (AUS)
H15: Mark Occhilupo (AUS); Mick Campbell (AUS); Beau Emerton (AUS)
H16: Tom Whitaker (AUS); Raoni Monteiro (BRA); Marcelo Nunes (BRA)