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51st Rip Curl Pro DAY 2, 2012

The sun rose early on day two of the 51st Rip Curl Pro, With light, crisp, southerly winds and a growing westerly swell, Bells served up some nail-biting victories and some bitter defeats. The remainder of the Men’s Round 1 heats kicked off the day’s precedings, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Round 2 heats.

The Hobgood brothers along with Michel Bourez were the first surfers to battle it out in the warm conditions this morning. Having beaten his twin brother, CJ, in four out of the previous five encounters, Damian went one-up once again, winning with a score of (14.40) while both CJ (11.54) and Bourez (10.97) remained quiet throughout the heat.

CJ Hobgood’s bottom turn in clean conditions in the Bell’s Bowl

All eyes were on Hawaiian and recent Margret River Pro winner, John Florence (16.26) and he did not disappoint. Florence ripped some massive hacks off the top, throwing some of the first aerials of the event. Matt Wilkinson (10.67) also won his first round heat, his fluoro green and question mark bespoken wetsuit mimicking the style of Batman’s nemesis, the Riddler.

The Men’s Round 2 posed challenging surf conditions as the time between sets started to lag. Taj Burrows showed why he is in good contention to ring the bell as he pulled off some massive layback hacks and speedy rail changes. It looked as though Julian Wilson would walk into Round 3 against Kai Otten but to the crowd’s disbelief, Otten managed to catch the best wave of the heat in the final minute, eliminating last year’s ASP World Tour, ‘Rookie of the Year’.

Fredrick Patacchia scraped through to Round 3 after being called on an interference, giving Michel Bourez priority and a free wave. Patacchia held on to win by a close 0.25. Australian, Yadin Nicol, was a contender for best heat of the day when he accumulated a heat score of 17.70, busting out a myriad of aerial to advance to Round Three. However, heat of the day was given to Kolohe Andino and Bede Durbidge; the two surfers traded perfect waves throughout the heat. Andino amazed the crowd achieving an almost perfect 360’ Ariel in the final five minutes, only to be beaten by tour veteran, Durbidge, who wowed onlookers with his countless hacks off the lip of the wave in the Bells Bowl in the dying minute.

One of the first females to hit the water today, Coco Ho, made up for her performance yesterday. Ho racing through opponent Rebecca Woods. The crowd built as Phillip Island native, Nikki Van Dyjk, matched up against Stephanie Gilmore. Gilmore had control of the entire heat, her experience showed as the young Victorian was eliminated. As the afternoon grew older, the swell dropped and the inconsistency proved challenging for the female surfers who all had close heats. Sofia Mulunovich, Pauline Ado and Paige Hareb all made it through to Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro, one step closer to the coveted ‘Bell’.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks to be smaller than today’s, with close-to-perfect 3ft pumping westerly swell expected early in the morning and brisk 9km/h north westerlies. Be sure to keep up to date with all the action from 7am at http://live.ripcurl.com

Sam Hopgood

Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaSMQ_Gp1Rs&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYMRqFHxaKw&w=560&h=315]

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