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April 28, 2019
After dominating their respective fields in picturesque Bells conditions, Conlogue rang the coveted Bells trophy for her third time, and Florence clinched his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach win.
Celebrating its 58th year running and 50 Years of Surfing at Rip Curl, this year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach culminated with what some called the 50-Year Storm; some of the biggest conditions the event has seen since 1981, a test for every competitor in the field, and a show for the crowd to remember.
In order to claim his first Bell, John Florence overcame Owen Wright (AUS) in the Round of 16, two-time and reigning WSL World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Quarterfinals, 2017 event winner Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Semifinals, and Brazilian contender Filipe Toledo (BRA) in the Final.
“It’s a surreal feeling to have won this event,” Florence said. “Especially an event like this where we started at Winki with small waves then to how big it was yesterday and then just totally perfect today. There has been so many different faces and challenges and then surfing against Filipe (Toledo) is always pretty scary.”
“This was definitely the most testing Final day of my career,” continued Florence. “From how big it was yesterday to the matchups today, it was really tiring and needed a lot of energy for the two heats yesterday and three heats today. I was just trying to surf my best and focus on myself, and it worked out. I couldn’t have done it without my team and my family. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in Torquay for letting us surf your waves. It’s been so fun.”
Joining the ranks of three-time Bell ringers today, Conlogue’s path to the podium was not easy – not only did she have to overcome fellow Californian Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Semifinal,but also Malia Manuel (HAW) in the Final. It was the Final heat where Courtney earnt the year’s first Perfect 10 and secured her third win at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
"What an event! I went from being out of rhythm with the ocean to the ocean being in the kind of rhythm I enjoy" - Conlogue said.
“I was trying to contain my ‘grom froth’ watching the waves all day. It feels incredible to get another Bell, they’re not easy to come by. Every single Bell has its own special path and journey that got me it and this one was definitely an amazing one to win.”
“The conditions were amazing today and it was great to share the Final with Malia,” continued Conlogue. “It was unreal. She’s been surfing spectacularly this whole competition. When I heard she got an 8-point ride I was like, ‘It’s on’. To come back and post a Perfect 10 felt so amazing. My team means everything and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
It was a year to remember at the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Congratulations to all of the surfers on facing some of the biggest surf the World Tour has seen in recent years; congratulations to wildcard Jacob Willcox (AUS) on achieving a quarterfinal finish; and congratulations to 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champions, John John Florence and Courtney Conlogue.