Rip Curl Pro On Hold Again Today (Tuesday)

While there are small signs of an increase in swell at Bells Beach, Australia today, organisers of the Rip Curl Pro have again called a lay day and will hold off until the predicted large swell hits tomorrow (Wednesday, April 18).

The latest forecasts indicate that a solid swell of up to two metres plus will hit the area for both tomorrow and Thursday and all are confident that the final heats of round three, followed by the remainder of the event, will be held in some of the best Bells Beach waves ever seen.

There is a lot of focus on the two remaining heats of round three with defending Rip Curl Pro champion Trent Munro (AUS) up against tour stalwart Michael Lowe (AUS) in heat 15 and the final heat of the round consisting of Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Danny Wills (AUS).

Following will be more much-anticipated match ups in round four. (See draw below.)

Today also marks the 25th Anniversary of “the swell that hit the Rip Curl Pro in 1981.

In three metre (10 feet) plus waves, surfers were sent out to perform on what was to be remembered as arguably the biggest and best day of surfing competition held on Australian soil.

Surfers were “under gunned, in that they came unprepared with boards that were too short for the conditions, but despite the setback they put on an amazing show.

The list of talent at the time included four-time world champion (then defending his second world title) Mark Richards (AUS), 1978 world champion Wayne Bartholomew (AUS) and eventual event winner Simon Anderson (AUS) who at the time was riding a revolutionary designed surfboard known as the three-finned “thruster.

Most surfers young and old around the world will have seen time and time again, images of Anderson executing some amazing powerhouse turns on the waves of consequence and will have heard how that day launched what is now the staple design of surfcraft today.

The three finned set-up went on to allow surfers to complete much more critical turns and 25 years later almost every surfer in the world uses the thruster design.

Anderson who still to this day shapes surfboards for some of the best surfers in the world, including Kelly Slater (USA), recalls the moment that took the surfing world by storm.

“The big day was actually the first day of the event, said Anderson. “And what was really strange about it was that the swell was huge but the water was aqua blue, which was very unlike the Bells arena. It was such a pristine day without a drop of water out of place.

“Given that a large swell hadn’t hit the area in about five years everyone had turned up to the event ‘under gunned’ including myself, and luckily on that day I had a new idea and those waves provided me with the perfect medium or canvas to see what my idea could do. I was riding a 6’6” board in waves that have grown dramatically in size in the years gone by {laughs} but were about 10 to 12 feet plus.

His actual win, however, came in small waves and Anderson, more than anything was nervous about going into the final given that he had this new idea and he was much bigger than his opponent in Cheyne Horan (AUS).

“To win the Rip Curl Pro for me was more of a relief than anything, said Anderson. “By the end of the event the swell had dropped and I was against Cheyne Horan in the final and it was a bit of a big man verus small man scenario and Cheyne at that stage had a reputation for being a great small-wave surfer (Cheyne has since established himself as a renowned big-wave rider in his “second career). But in the end the win was more about self satisfaction as I had an idea and it worked.

Anderson continues to make an annual sojourn to Bells every Easter for the Rip Curl in order to keep abreast of surfboard design changes and to watch the fantastic action that always ensues.

Organisers will reconvene tomorrow at 7am (local time) to assess conditions.

In the meantime why not jump on line to www.aspworldtour.com and www.ripcurl.com/ripcurlpro too view all the video highlights and stats packages.

Round four heats to date:
Heat 1: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs Pancho Sullivan (HAW)
Heat 2: Paulo Moura (BRA) vs Shaun Cansdell (AUS)
Heat 3: Bruce Irons (HAW) vs Bede Durbidge AUS)
Heat 4: Taylor Knox (USA) vs Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 5: Andy Irons (HAW) vs Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 6: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs Greg Emslie (ZAF)
Heat 8: Yet to be decided