BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia (Sunday, April 24, 2011) – Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, has claimed the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger over compatriot and former two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, in an electric Final in solid six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) waves at Bells Beach.
The second stop of the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach celebrated its 50th year of operation this season and the Southern Ocean delivered one of the best swells in recent history for the world’s best to sink their collective fangs into. Today’s Final ran in front of a capacity crowd at Bells Beach, maxing out as early as 11am with cars lined back to the center of Torquay, and the elite ASP Top 34 delivered in sensational fashion.
Leaving little to chance in the highly-anticipated Final, Parkinson opened up with an 8.53 on the first ride of the heat and drove the nail into the coffin with a Perfect 10.
“To me, Mick (Fanning) has been the form surfer of the event and I was never going to take him lightly,” Parkinson said. “I think we both had the same game plan of getting the first good one that came through and putting the momentum behind us. We scrapped for that first wave and I got the nod. Even though it was a mid-8, I knew I needed a lot more to hold him off so I just kept the pressure on from there.”
Today’s victory marks the third Bells title for the Gold Coaster and his 10th elite tour win overall.
“It’s incredible,” Parkinson said. “It’s not so much the fact that I’ve won the event, but more so that it’s the 50th anniversary. It feels that much more special. We’ve had such good waves too. I can’t remember the last time that Bells had such good waves. I’m so excited. I can’t believe this.”
Parkinson, who’s last two ASP World Title campaigns have been marred by injuries, is adamant that he is 100% healthy this season and surfing better than ever.
“I definitely feel like I’m back,” Parkinson said. “I feel like I’m surfing better than I was back in ’09 before I hurt my ankle. I’m feeling fit, I have some really good boards under my feet and I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
Parkinson vaults from 9th to 2nd on the ASP World Title Rankings.
The next stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season is the Billabong Pro Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from May 11 – 22, 2011.
Photos credit : Kirstin Scholtz / ASP