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Friday, April 9, 2010
Slater Rings the Bell

Kelly Slater bested Mick Fanning 17.03 to 12 to win the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Hells Bells! Four Bells bell trophies for Mr. Kelly Slater. The only other surfer in the 49 year history to have four Bells trophy's on his mantle piece is Aussie legend Mark Richards, who won four in a row. Slater trumped 2009 ASP Champ, Mick Fanning with a future-forward alley-oop for an 8.93 at Johanna Beach.

Bobby Martinez started the day asking Mick Fanning, "If you were me, where would you surf?' Mick just looked at him and broke up laughing. He then gave his good mate a half decent reply. Bobby was trying to figure out whether to surf a left on the edge of the contest site, or surf the right that everyone else was using. In the end Bobby surfed both.

He won his heat against Parko on the lefts but went missing in his semifinal against Slater. He left the beach bitterly disappointed but sitting comfortably in the Number Three spot on the ratings. Fanning edged by Jordy Smith in the quarterfinals, and bested Burrow in the semi.

Mick Fanning, with Bede Durbidge, gives bud Bobby Martinez some insight into the Johanna Beach left.

When Kelly was asked how it felt to now have four in his collection too he laughed, "Yeah well how long did it take him? I won three in five years and it's taken me about another twenty to win this one."

It hasn't been exactly 20, bu

t for Kelly it has been a long time coming. And now for the big question. Will this be the year for World Title Number 10 for the King? Kelly reckons he's happy with his position on the rating right now at Number Two.

"I'm just two heat wins behind Taj right now and Mick is three, so I figure we are both in pretty good positions considering the last two events have been run in waves that suit Taj. If after J-Bay we're still in the same position and Taj hasn't got a run on, then we'll both be in the world title chase."

Kelly doesn't normally discuss his world title chances or prospects. There were years passed when he might not even show up. Hence, this was a big reply in the state of things. Could it be Number 10 in 2010? I reckon this year throws up the perfect date 10/10/10. When I suggested this to Kelly, he stopped and thought about it awhile and then answered. "That would be Portugal. That would be interesting."

Yeah, interesting is probably an understatement.

After all the presentation hoopla was done, Kelly grabbed his Bell and proceeded to walk around through the crowd letting the spectators (and media) 'ring' it. He reckoned that most of the people had never had the opportunity and probably never would so today was the perfect day. Not the 'big one' but his bell. There were smiles all around as everyone gave the bell a good dinging. In a quiet moment later, Slater presented his trophy to the members of the local Aboriginal tribe who are custodians of the land where the contest has been run at Johanna.

"It was a great finish for the event, and I want to thank all the locals down in Johanna for letting us surf out here today," Fanning said.

What about he injured foot you ask? (Hairline fracture confirmed by the ASP.) How did he do it? Well the captain of the Australian Football team (AFL/Aussie rules) -- the Geelong Cats, lives and surfs in Torquay. When he heard Kelly had stuffed up his foot he offered the medical facilities at the club to help out. Apparently, he also offered up a couple of pain killers this morning too. But no injections -- his foot was strapped and a couple of pills did the trick. Kelly reckoned, "It was easier to surf than walk on the sand. On the sand my foot spreads out but on my board it doesn't move or spread as much so there wasn't as much pain."

Mick Fanning joked that there wasn't anything wrong with it and it was all smoke and mirrors.

Taj Burrow had his roll broken but didn't seem put out. Jordy Smith hung around and joked after his loss. Adriano de Souza was visibly bummed, while "The Spartan," Michel Bourez, just shrugged and stayed till the end of the contest to watch all the action.

Slater lets the crowd ring his fourth Bells trophy.

Amongst the work and security crew, there was almost an audible sigh of relief as Kelly was carried off the beach on a quad bike. It had been a long event with four different sites and difficult 'Search' conditions for everyone.

1 Kelly Slater (USA) 17.03
2 Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.00

SF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.33 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.50
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.66 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 3.80

QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.34 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4.87
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.20 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.00
QF 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.10 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.40
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.00

Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.84 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.83
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.67 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.77
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.20 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.00
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.50 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.00

CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10 (After Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach):
1 - Taj Burrow (AUS) 16500 pts
2 - Kelly Slater (USA) 13750 pts
3 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13250 pts
4 - Bobby Martinez (USA) 13000 pts
5 - Mick Fanning (AUS) 11750 pts
6 - Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10500 pts
6 - Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10500 pts
6 - Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10500 pts
9 - Dane Reynolds (USA) 8250 pts
10 - Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 7500 pts
10 - Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7500 pts