From Jack Robinson and Molly Picklum leading the World Rankings to a new wildcard entrant and even an injury replacement, the Aussies are dominating the Australian leg of the Championship Tour right now.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (Stop No.4) is underway with surfers battling to keep their world title dreams alive before the dreaded mid-season cut. The field of 36 men and 18 women will be reduced to just 24 men and 12 women fields following the Margaret River Pro in WA (Stop No.5).
Bells Beach surfer and wildcard entrant, Xavier Huxtable is hoping to score a major upset when he takes on Robinson and Kelly Slater in his first heat at home.
Huxtable told Surfing Australia he was feeling super excited to have the opportunity to compete in another pro-tour event.
“I can’t wait to surf against some of the world’s best. Hopefully, we get some good waves for the event, and I can cause a bit of an upset. Living down here is awesome with the waves we get. I feel like having the local knowledge can definitely help when it comes to positioning and wave selection.”
The 20-year-old booked his wildcard slot after winning a trials event on the weekend.
“At the moment I’m doing the Qualifying Series with a bunch of Aussie mates and hopefully break through and get on the Championship Tour in the coming years,” he said.
Newcastle surfer, Jackson Baker is another Aussie we’re keeping a close eye on. He finished above the mid-year cut line in 2022 but it’s a different story this year. Baker, ranked 27th in the World, needs two good results to make the cut on his second year on Tour.
Fellow Aussie Callum Robson is in a more comfortable position at 7th. While Morgan Cibilic has been confirmed as an injury replacement at Bells.
Tyler Wright, who won at Bells last year, is currently ranked 4th in the World and hoping to go back-to-back. Her older brother, Owen Wright is looking to end his career on a high after announcing this will be his last event as a competitive surfer.
Sally Fitzgibbons, who won the event back in 2011 and is just outside the cut-off mark in 11th, is also fighting to keep her Paris 2024 Olympic dream alive.
She told Surfing Australia: “It’s a wave I really know and trust myself and my surfing and really feel like my surfing fits this wave. It was you know, the location where I had my very first win on tour and I can still remember that very vividly and channelling that energy and not really towards I guess, the pressure the cut can create in closing down your surfing and surfing safe is not what I’m about at this point of my career. I’m about putting the pedal to the metal and I want to elevate not only my performance here but just my surfing in general. I do believe I’ve got what it takes not just to make the cut but to be competitive for these wins and to be on tour.”
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