Round two is always a make-or-break moment in a world tour contest, but when the surf's pushing well over 10 feet and the lineup's moving all over the place anything can, and often does, happen. The waves were big, unruly and unpredictable at Bells Beach as the men were separated from the boys at the Rip Curl Pro.
Taj Burrow started out the day with a fairly easy win over wild card Jacob Wilcox, throwing down some nice carves.
"I've had a few shockers here over the past few years but I'm taking it on as a challenge, changed a few things up and I'm here to ring the Bell 100 percent," said Burrow after exiting the water. "This event is hugely prestigious and can really set a pace for the rest of the season. A win here is the goal."
The big walls at Bells really suited the power surfers, and power surfing definitely ruled the day. Dusty Payne put in a stellar performance against Owen Wright, posting a 9.5 on his first wave of the heat and made it back-to-back wins against Wright in the last two events. Payne wouldn't be so lucky in the following round as he we down to Burrow. Nevertheless, Payne is looking focused, surfing really well, and it feels like he's definitely going to have his best year on the World Tour thus far.
"He's in a really good rhythm and coming off a win out West," affirmed Burrow, "so he was always going to be a danger if he got the waves."
Jordy Smith used his big frame and penchant for full-rail turns to his advantage, locking in a 19.14, the highest heat total of the event so far.
"I'm healthy, I feel like I'm surfing my best and I'm just focusing on put it together in heats. Bells is an opportunity for me to gain some early traction this season and that's my goal," said Smith in his post-heat interview.
The biggest news of the day came from rookie Nat Young, who upset Julian Wilson in round three. Young is proving that he has a plan for the 2013 season and he is not intimidated by the big names on tour. In his rookie debut he made it into round three on the Gold Coast, and now he is through to round four, which is a non-elimination round, meaning he'll either slide into round five or graduate to the quarters should he win in round four. Young's strong backside attack is turning heads and he could quite possibly be a giant killer when it comes to the world title race.
"I lost in this round at Snapper so my goal was to improve from there. The waves weren't pretty, but I knew if I could find a few, I could maybe get a few scores on my backhand. Julian is so polished and so good -- it was always going to be a difficult heat. Stoked to get through though and we'll just see what tomorrow brings," said Young.
With the swell is forecast to stick around another day, which will undoubtedly be another big day of action for the men, and depending on how things play out, we could also see the crowning of a women's champ as Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright are paired up against one another in the final.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.50 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 12.16
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.90 def. Jack Perry (AUS) 12.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.73 def. Oney Anwar (IDN) 7.43
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.10 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.90
Heat 5: Tiago Pires (PRT) 17.57 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.27
Heat 6: Dusty Payne (HAW) 17.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 9.50
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 19.14 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.77
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 18.10 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 11.33
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.60 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 14.23
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.33 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.43
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.07 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.60
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.43 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.43
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.33 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.27
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.67 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.23
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) 12.50 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.50
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)