Bells Wrap-Up

Shea Lopez on Mick Fanning's historic win over Kelly Slater

| posted on April 06, 2012

Mick Fanning, stoked to finally have his second Bells victory.

What were you doing last night at 1am? I was watching Kelly and Mick take their surfing to another level. I should have been in bed, resigned to watch the heat analyzer in the morning with my breakfast. But these moments are so much richer when you experience them in real time. It felt as if I was there, perched on the stairs of Bells Beach watching history in the making during a final that is already being called the best Bells final of all time.

During the 40-minute heat both surfers had three excellent rides, with two of them for each surfer being ridden to perfection. Mick opened with a blitzkrieg that finished impressively in the shorebreak with a committed, lofty double-tap to lien. Needing a score later in the heat, Mick raced through a perfectly executed three-turn combo on a set wave (the judges love that) receiving a huge score to take the lead for good. The entire event, Mick surfed faster with more power than anyone else, looking as if last year’s soul searching paid off, and he is now in the zone once again and looking as primed as any for this year’s World Title.

Kelly Slater took an entirely different approach in their historic final. Unable to keep up with Fanning’s facework, Slater hunted windy pockets from the slightly cross-shore wind in an attempt to show the judges something completely different—a great strategy when trying to highlight your strengths and take the focus away from your competitor. After a shaky start, Slater found a perfect ride on a bowly closeout where he was able to one up his New York air. He launched, he spun, and he landed what has to be the best air in a contest to date—that’s when things got confusing. It’s difficult to put a judging criteria in place and score every ride when comparing such starkly different approaches. Kelly followed-up his 10-point ride by extending into a carving 360, completely obliterating the lip, and continuing down the line in one clean motion. Mixing that with a number of solid turns on that wave, Kelly, I felt, had locked-in the fourth perfect ride of the final. It was a tie, but a contest can’t finish with two winners. In the end, by unanimous decision from the judges, Mick Fanning became your 2012 Bells Beach Pro Champion.

Kelly is the only surfer who does carving 360s of that degree of difficulty—nobody else even comes close. An 8.07 for that ride? Maybe that would make sense if all he did was that one move. But rather than think of this event as a failure to get the scores in the final correct to one hundredth of a point, I’d like to think of it as that rare moment in competition when the two very best surfers of an event meet and hit their peak in the final, both surfing within a hair of perfection. A heat between Occy and Curren at the same venue comes to mind. When that happens, the surfing becomes the real show and all the other shenanigans fade into the background. Kelly and Mick raised the bar extremely high with their performance in not only the final, but in the entire event. It should be great to watch the rest of the field attempt to do the same over the course of the 2012 season.

There are few surfers on the planet with a style as suited to Bells as Mick Fanning.

Kelly Slater, midway through the 10-point maneuver that might be the most incredible aerial of his competitive career.

  • Jim Dandelion

    At least from a showmanship perspective Slater’s rides seem to me to have been quite a bit more entertaining… Those airs were downright amazing. Maybe judges are just sick of seeing him win.

  • Bimbo Banucci

    Easy to say Kelly’s had his fair share, so lets give it to Mick. Reality is, Mick didn’t finish his wave and Kelly’s turns and carving 360 plus completing his wave should have scored higher than Mick’s. The degree of difficulty has to go to Kelly. Mick surfed the wave very good as he smaked and broke free in all the right places except the end. Mick surfed the wave like I can relate to and other surfers can relate to. Kelly surfed it like most people except maybe Dane can really understand. Judges made an gross error on this one.

  • MP

    Mick won- they had to give it to him after underscoring his first ride and throwing a 10 for 1 move. It was real close though, Congrats MICK!

  • kong

    I too felt the judges erred on this one. An 8.07 for Slater’s ride that finished in the shorebreak (prior to Mick’s 9.something ride) and another 8.07 for a ride that included a move that nobody in the field can do? If politics were at play, that’s fine, I see it. But the scores needed to be more representative of what actually occurred of which both 8.07’s for Slater do not make sense when compared to Fanning’s 9.7. If based purely on surfing, Kelly deserved the win. But when is it ever? After watching Fanning’s stoke and his interaction with the fans, I was stoked that he won. Did Kelly have the right to ring the bell after Fanning put it down? Not sure about how I felt there either. For sure the best final I have ever witnessed.

  • Jimmy Joe

    An Epic final and one that will no doubt be argued about and referenced for years to come, but I’ve gotta agree with the other commenters in that Slater deserved the win. The split-screen replay and the live commentating made it pretty clear that everyone else felt the same way – either equal scores or Slater with a slight advantage for finishing it off cleanly. Kind of weird, and I thought Kelly deserved it, but Mick was still in top form. Then again, in the Slater vs. Flores semifinal Flores got a pretty bogus interference call, and apparently would have taken the heat without the interference, so maybe the judges were trying to belatedly make up for that mistake?

  • Ralph’s Pic

    Look, not for nothing here. Mick surfed great. Kelly surfed like the freak he is. Are you kidding me? No contest. That one should of gone to the Freak. Again.

  • nosurprise

    Aussie judges, aussie win. We shouldn’t be surprised at this point… Different people get pushes at different events and Mick got the push here…

  • gnarnick

    for once Kelly got robbed. should’ve had his 49th today. no way mick’s 9.7 was 1.63 better than kelly’s ride on the same set. the dual replay shows it all.

  • Simon

    Slater got hosed big time. There was a lot of bad scoring during this contest and there is absolutely no reason for this with the availability of replays.

  • Dan Devine

    Mick is one of my all time Hero’s
    ( Favorite Surfers )
    Kelly Slater out surfed him this
    Time hands down, what an epic
    Final….. DAN DEVINE / HAWAII

  • Lance Burkhardt

    Probably one of the best heats in Bells history if not surfing history. Kelly’s second 8.07 was grossly underscored. Was it better than his previous 8.07? Of course it was. Was it a full 1.63 less than Mick’s 9.70? Of course it was not. Did Mick finish and land the air on the inside section? Hell no. Side by side (watch the heat replay) those waves looked pretty damn similar. But hey let’s look at this for what it was, a blatant Vickie robbery! There I said it. I’m not scared to speak my mind unlike some other Americans I know (see Taylor Knox — way to tow the company line). A Rip Curl event in the land down under with Mark Richards record to be matched and a fellow Coolie Kid to win it, the perfect storm was stacked against Mr. Robert Kelly Slater. I know it, you know it and every American, if not around the world, surfer knows it! The bright side of things, title number 12 is just a step away now. Sure you little Vickies rang the bell, but in the process you rang Kelly’s bell. The fire is lit and it won’t be extinguished until number 12 is in the “bag”. So for that I thank you. As for the contest result, history has a weird way of repeating itself. Right Vickies?????

  • http://Surfer Gibbo

    What a final! Decision went the right way. Yes Slater did things nobody else could do. Yes he took aerial competition surfing to a different level. Yes he did the most critical carving 360 I’ve ever seen. BUT the judges are looking for big, powerful, critical maneuvers completed CLEANLY and with FLOW. I feel Mick did that a little better today but what a choice to have to make. Bring on the rest of the season!

  • Doug Springs

    Go to the heat analyzer at the Rip Curl Live site and watch all four top waves. I can buy the all scores except the last one. To give Mick a 9.7 on wave where he failed to finish the last maneuver is just plain wrong. 9.7 is close to perfect – falling on your close-out move is not. I love the sport and I wouldn’t want to be a judge but it just stinks when you see obvious favoritism influencing the outcome. The fact that Kelly has won so often is irrelevant. If he’s the best surfer in the heat then he deserves to win and no doubt in my mind he was, once again, the best out there.

  • Eesha Williams

    The first two posts are right on. Well said.

  • Daytona Jim

    The contest was loaded with incredible surfing, and the final was no exception. Great to see such a nail biter and two competitors raising their game to a new level. That could have gone either way, and maybe this will keep Kelly more interested. Keep putting the pressure on him fellas, it’s just turning making him even better. The surfing and the broadcast were so well done, it had me sprinting to the water to do my pathetic version (at least compared to those guys) of laying into the face of a wave. I never would have imagined watching a contest online could get me so psyched.

  • Lance Burkhardt

    From the mag that brought us the term “Vickie” to not publishing my comments? Go fuck yourselves! Lifelong subscription getting cancelled right now. See ya’ Aussie sellouts!

  • Mik

    Kelly, I think, was underscored; Mick, I think, was overscored… But there have been situations where Mick got burned, and Kelly gifted. What I liked was Mick recognizing the fact, and complementing Kelly for how he handled it. Class. I also like how Kelly handled a heckler, who boo’d him, by saying “someone needs some attention”… That was cool. He wasn’t afraid to connect to the guy, in front of the entire surf world. Great event. Cool to see Kai Otton get some big scores; yeah Kai! A great backhand attack.

  • Kevin F.

    That judging was shameful, if Kelly had boosted an air 360-rodeo combo he would have got another 8.07. Here comes number 12!

  • Tom

    Kelly & John John were scored low by the shit judging

  • Matt O’Brien

    NOT EVEN CLOSE BUD… Kelly beat Mick – but the judges beat Kelly. Stupid Stupid Stupid… at least Kelly is in front of race. That was a joke and even Mick knew it. Disgusting way to end a Perfect event. BS!!!!! Kinda like going on a rad surf trip and getting into a head on car accident just before you get home – it ruins the whole trip. I feel like the judges crashed head first into the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro. Shame Shame Shame.. but No love lost for Mick – it ain’t his fault the judges SUCK!

  • Steve Wootten

    Mick sponsored by Rip Curl…Kelly by Quicksilver…nothing else need be said.
    What a crock!!!

  • Archie Newell

    I agree with most of the comments above. Great heat and some insane surfing. I gave Kelly’s carving 360 wave a 9.1 which would have been enough to win it. It was stacked in Micks favor and if he wouldn’t cut me off at Lowers last August I would be stoked for him.

  • http://surfer Jan Sovich

    Good to read the comments. After watching most of the Bells I felt robbed of a an honest podium. Both great competitors but poor judgement of results! Were the judges too quick to give the results? A 9.7 for a wave which the surfer falls off at the end, come on. Kelly’s wave was scored too low. Again,gross errors on the judges part. Bummer, but it’s over now.

  • peacos

    Sunny Garcia or Bobby would not have taken that without some fireworks

  • Blue Cheese

    Politicly correct results for the start of the campaign or fairy tale?
    Mick raise’s national pride and confidence in his homeland.
    Kelly confirms that he wants 12.
    Game on
    Go Slater

  • Stucco

    THANK YOU. At least one industry fuck can say Slater won that final, and it’s especially meaningful coming from someone who has been as hard on Kelly as Shea has.

  • Bassman

    Erratic judging that’s all. Mick won and make a lot of sense.
    Kelly’ s one great aerial maneuver (10?) was over scored, the one he did against Muscroft it was a 10 in my opinion. Because, this is not a NY beachbreak. The best waves at Bells provide for multiple and variety of turns. Micks 2nd best score got a push from the judges to overcome their mistake. Mick surfed within the criteria and is the definite winner. The so called NY air is great but the same way Jadson Andre overuses his frontside reverse too much it is time to add variety and carves..
    Mick well done. Congratulations.

  • Matt W

    Well written Shea, glad to see a good writer who isn’t biased write what the fans are yelling about.
    Hopefully those idiots that call themselves asp judges start acting like true judges.

  • Ben

    You always have to ask the question when Slater surfs against somebody, and especially when he loses: Could his opponent do what he does, and could Slater have done what his opponent did? In this case, it is blaringly, ridiculously obvious. Mick, training every day on a swiss ball for a million years could not execute any of Slater’s air’s or carving 360s (not to mention Teahupoo drops and tube riding, etc ad inf). Slater, on the other hand, could EASILY do anything that Mick does (not to take away from Fanning, who shreds) and do it better for that matter. Shea is way wrong; Slater easily matches and surpasses Mick on the open face, as well as in the tube, in the air. Just a way, way better surfer than anybody.

  • Fandangles Frotha

    I am an Aussie that loves Mick, in my opinion Kelly won hands down. I love surfing but watching these comps are so boring!!! That final was epic and the ASP completely ruined it! Did anyone watch Brother Andinos heat??? How the hell did Boring Durbidge get a 9 for those soft bog rail turns!?!?!?!?!?!!!!
    What a joke this sport is! The judges should never give a 10….just like snowboarding where they scored their first perfect score ever to that red haired ripper this year…….whereas surfing throws 10’s whenever a judge gets excited in the final 1 min of the heat!! Wakle up to yourselves ASP!!!! Kelly wont forget that final so here he comes again for number 12!

  • Dirt

    You people are absolute SHIT!!!. I agree Kelly maybe shoulda won that final, cause in my mind that air he did was a 12 not a 10. But Mick did surf insane.
    But Kelly had this burn coming, he didn’t beat Owen last year at trestles and chopes yet got the scores, Kelly did not even come close to deserving his last two world titles. Kelly is so used to getting overscored, he didn’t see this coming. SO FUNNY. @ Ben. Kelly can not surf like Mick.

  • North Shore

    Kelly won that final by far.
    Stoked Shea Lopez recognizes that.

  • Jah!

    I think its pointless to always refer to Slaters advantage w/ the judges-this is about the 2012 Bells contest and its not fair to say its ok that he got robbed cause its happened the other way…2 wrongs don’t make a right. …9 out of 10 times Kelly has to surf beyond himself to win while his fellow competitors get scores for not buckling under pressure, but they hardly out surf him… that was classic bullshit result…Kelly will have to surf like a possessed man AND still get underscored AND still win 12—he read and lives the ART of WAR- his opponents are screwed

  • billy

    great commentary from all. 2nd one nailed it. great read and great final. stoked

  • Harry

    Come on.. I was livid, watching that final.

    First, I grew up surfing with the cooly boys, Mick, Dean, Parko, Kersy etc. Mick is an absolute legend, and one of the best surfers ever. I am a fan of Mick and Kelly as well.

    Now, about that final. That was incredibly blatant.. is it because Rip Curl paid for the contest? I don’t understand how (a) Mick was awarded a 9.7 for that wave, and even more outrageously, how Kelly was scored so low on his.. THEY EVEN PLAYED THEM SIDE BY SIDE!!

    Kelly matched Mick, maneuver for maneuver, and every single one of Kelly’s pushed that little bit extra, was that little bit more critical and more stylish. Oh, and did anyone notice, MICK DIDN’T EVEN FINISH THE WAVE! He fell on his last maneuver. That is automatic deduction of at least a point. Does that mean, had Mick made that last maneuver, he’d have been awarded an 11?

    I would have been outraged had they given Mick and Kelly the same score, but to give Kelly a low 8, and Mick an almost perfect score is an ominous sign that perhaps the judging is not as honest as we would hope. Was it the fact that Rip Curl own the Bells contest? Or are the judges really that incompetent? Whatever the reason for this latest embarrassment to professional surfing, one thing is overwhelmingly clear. Kelly was the true winner of that final.

    Here’s another thing that pisses me off. Kelly is held to a much higher standard than other surfers are, by the very people who should be completely unbiased. The Judges. He has to work much harder for his scores, because he set the bar so high. The problem here is, that bar should be raised for every surfer, not just the one who raised it.

    If you put Mick’s head on Kelly’s shoulders for one of those 8s he got in the final, he’d have undoubtedly been given a much higher score. See my point?

    I know that there are always a few people who bleat “rigged” “Biased” etc etc after just about every heat that their favorite surfer didn’t win, but this is clearly not one of those occasions. This is beyond a joke.

    I’m a huge fan of Mick and Kelly both.

    I’m from Australia.

    I have never taken the time to write my opinion on something like this before, but I’ve also never seen this happen as outrageously blatant as this. Rip Curl, if you’re going to “appoint” your champion rather than do it the old fashioned way and award the championship to the best surfer, at least try to be more subtle about it.

    Kelly didn’t deserve that.. shame on you.

  • Pugs

    Well said Shea. I would point out, however, that I think way more of an issue than Kelly not getting the score he needed (because the score he got I think was o.k. and was within reasonable proximity to any potential score that most could agree upon) was the 9.7 they gave Mick for 3 top turns (that were not even as good as his the turns on his 9.1 score) and then falling off on the last turn. You can’t get almost a perfect score on a wave that you fall on and don’t do any massive maneuver earlier in the wave – I don’t care how subjective the scoring is. You can’t get over an 8 – not by any version of judging, even whacky judging. Did you notice on the replay during the webcast, they didn’t even show the finish on Mick’s wave, because they knew it was BS. Outrageous. On that same exchange which they showed in a split screen, Kelly’s wave, which was almost the same, but with a big, clean finish and a turn in the fat section where Mick went straight, plus Kelly’s turns were a bit more flared (you could debate that part I guess) – they gave Fanning a 9.7 and Kelly an 8. Then Kelly was behind and needed an 8.8 and they gave him another 8 for his carving 360, which people are debating and I think is a reasonable debate. But, with everyone focused on Kelly not getting the score he needed on that wave, a significant point is that Kelly wouldn’t have needed that if they hadn’t overscored Mick by 2 points on the previous exchange. The worst misjudge I have seen in a clutch, big time final maybe ever…and it changed the outcome of the event. It’s one thing if the judging is a little off, but the outcome is right; it’s another when one really bad score changes the outcome of the Final. That was shameful and makes surfing look like a small incestuous sport.

  • RH

    Jeez people, I’m a proud seperatist (seppo that, ya Pommie-rejects), but a fan of both surfers… and Mick winning was not an injustice (though Kelly barely winning wouldn’t have been, either). The only thing screwed up was that, if they were going to give the nod to either, it should have been by the barest of margins, because Kelly’s second 8.07 was definitely underscored, and Mick’s 9.7 was definitely overscored because unfinished, and yet Kelly’s 10 was also overscored, because, as amazing as it was that he iron-legged that landing, it was only necessary because that wave wasn’t good enough to support a truly perfect flight path that didn’t land him out in the flat. So anyway, the only thing that was a travesty was Mick winning by more than 2 tenths. But whereas Mick had nothing really to whine about at Johanna, because Kelly’s “tricks are for beachbreaks” approach was in no way out of place in that “Bell’s” final, Kelly has nothing to really whine about here, because Mick’s outside surfing on the reef/point of the main venue was a little better, in large part because of clearly better waves, though Kelly’s surfing in the shorey was clearly better.

  • Geo

    That Final was one of the most full-on, all-out efforts from two surfers ever witnessed. It will go down as legendary for certain. As for the result, it appears to me that opinions are split, judging from the comments of those who watched it on video, as I did. Which tells me that if any of those commenting were on the judging panel, they would have had as difficult time telling the differences as those actually on the panel did! In other words- close heats between great surfers are a matter of opinion, and it is required that judges make a decision. This was a close one and some agree and some disagree with the result, but all of us can agree that it was an absolute pleasure to behold (even on the webcast). Thanks Kelly and Mick for a blast…

  • oswaldo

    @Rh – comments are fairly spot on. it was a close final. both mick and kelly surfed really well. mick is one of my favorites, as is kelly. mick’s first wave was no way in hell a 9+. nor was kelly’s air was a 10 given the nature of bells – closer to a low or mid 9. as to mick’s 9.7 and kelly’s 8.07 – that’s where the judge’s expose themselves and the sport in general. although i liked watching mick’s wave more than kelly’s because mick’s carves were timeliness things for beauty, there is no way that mick’s was almost a 1 point higher.

  • Aquaba

    I liked it when Mick went surfing and then Kelly did a surfing and I like surfing so I went surfing and did a surfing turn and scored 2.35 by the surfing judge. I am the surfing judge. I like surfing, surfing is nice.

  • KP

    what RH said on April 6

  • kp

    the other thing to remember also that although scores are being debated, it seemed to me that the judges were making no secret all week that they were favoring scores for traditional Bells powersurfing with smooth connecting lines and preferably taking it to the beach.

    jordy tried a superman punt early and the judges didn’t like it.

    you have to hand it to the judges for consistency for the most part.

  • Will

    Kelly’s had help from judges before (e.g: last wave at J’bay final against Andy a few years back), and Mick definitely got a helping hand from them this time. For degree of difficulty and variety of manoeuvres, Kelly nailed it. Couldn’t help but feel that I saw Mick’s typical cutback a million times over and over on each wave. Not much variety or criticality in those moves. Plus he fell off on his second wave.

  • Dirt

    The more you watch the replays, it becomes easier to see why the judges went with Mick. Kellys last wave with the carve 360 wasn’t that good. The judges don’t give scores to Bede when he does em. Kelly is smart though, he knows Micks top to bottom surfing is faster and more precise, so he goes for big airs and 360’s to give the judges an alternative. Its Kellys brain that makes him great.
    BTW di**heads, if its ok for Kelly to get a 10 for one move, then its ok for Mick to get a 9.7 for three perfectly executed turns. WANKERS.

  • juddy

    nothing better than to listen to you septic tanks have a whinge .
    thats why the bells contest is the best because there aren’t the same old pulling in
    getting barrelled boring wave after wave contests or the one manoeuvre ariel beach break its a pleasure to see some real surfing and for that mick fanning deserved every bit of that win the ariel is fucking our beautiful sport good on mick and good on bells by far the best surfing contest i have seen in memory pull your heads in ariels and 360 bullshit has no place at bells good on ya mick

  • Craig

    I would not be quite as upset with the obviously biased judging in the final if not for the even worse biased judging in Slater’s 3rd round heat. In that heat the judges handed it to Nic Muscroft by severely over-scoring his waves and under-scoring Kelly’s waves. Kelly only made it out of that heat because he pulled a rabbit out of his hat as the horn sounded forcing the judges to give him the score he needed.

    I’m just trying to decide if it’s an anti-Kelly bias or a pro-Aussie bias that led to the ridiculous scores in those two heats.

    Kelly will have to surf better than ever to overcome this sort of thing this year. Its obvious to me that if anyone is close to Kelly in a heat that Kelly will not be scored properly.

  • dirtbag

    Big difference here dirt, on kellys higher scoring waves…… He didn’t fall 🙂

    So get mad all you want, you are only upset because you know kelly slater won. Mick came a close second.

  • surfbc

    Its results like that that delegitimizes surfing as a real sport.

  • Greg Bennett

    Kelly won that by the slightest of margins, got screwed by the judging panel & went on to handle his loss like a champ.

    Stoaked to see a new and improved Mick surfing beyond himself and adding a radical air game!! He was killing it every round.

    But it was sad watching the finals celebration knowing the truth.

    Wouldn’t be surprized to see Mick and Kelly in the next final.

  • waz

    so everyone is crying about Mick falling…take a look at many of the contest waves at Pipe where (pipe is about getting barreled) someone gets a sick barrel worthy of a 10 but tries to finish off the wave with one last move and falls…9 out of 10 its still a ten because the judges expect to see the barrels. At Bells they expect to see set wave walls ripped apart by rail surfing and they duly hand out high scores for moves like these. That’s what they want to see and that’s what Mick gave them…had Slater picked up a real set wave and set it on fire he would have had the win.

  • Ben

    @ Dirt, I mean Ian Cairns, You are correct: Kelly does not surf like Mick, he surfs much, much, (much)squared better than Mick or anybody else on the tour. BTW, Mick is still one of the best ever, maybe in the top thirty, but he is not even fvcking close. Remember the comps when Bells was big and it was Parko vs. Slater in the final? Remember Slater’s bottom turn to grab-rail evisceration of the rail face? Only Occy does similar turns at Bells (backside of course). Mick cannot do that.

  • Dirt

    @dirtbag. Maybe I should be on tour. I can ride waves without falling.
    As I said before, WANKERS.

  • gay



    ASP needs Rip Curl to dish out the Millions again next year. It’s a NO BRAINER when your #1 Team Rider can WIn and DEFEND = Rip Curl writes a check to ASP. Plain and Simple – Quik does not pay to plat at Bells, So SLATER gets NIPPED. MOVING FORWARD. Slater Gets More FUEL for HIS FIRE AND WINS 12 – Sounds like a great number to retire.

  • islandsurf

    Mick should have got two 9’s, Kelly should have got a 10 and an 8.5-9… Kelly by a slight margin but really the only score that was too off was Mick’s 9.7. That ride was a 9.0 after not completing the last maneuver..

  • Dash

    Lots of anger on this post, and I see why people question the individual wave scores, but I think the Judges got it right in the end. Mick surfed with more flow and power the whole final. He got the best set waves and those 3 turns were seriously perfect. Kelly did that nuts air, and a crazy 360 turn but it seemed like he bobbled it in the whitewater, plus they were both smaller waves.

    It was an amazing, riveting final, I’m just stoked I got to watch it.

    (One seppo for Mick)

  • Tim

    SLATER WAS ROBBED – seriously wrong
    – Aussie event prefer AUSSIE WINNER
    -Rip Curl tour event Want team rider Fanning to win.

    Slater is the only reason the event gets such big tv rights.

  • Bongking

    How are u all complaining and debating who won, dont you all realize that we’re the true winners for getting to watch the most epic bells final in history for FREE?!?

  • Philip A. Cartwright Sr

    Aloha. The hairless man Slater’s surfing rides were exponentially better than the much younger man’s were. I have dealt with age discrimination too. My own grandson tells me that I cant drive drunk to Church anymore because I’m too old and cant see so great. My advice is to keep on doing what you do despite arbitrary judgements that seem to make no sense. Your whirlybirds are to your competitors turns as a panzer division blitzkrieg onslaught is to Sir Margaret Thatchers stuffy trowser fart. Keep your bald head held high, you are the best. Okay, time to get drunk and run over my perverted friends trash cans. It makes him so mad and I find it really funny. Sincerely,

  • Zeb

    Shea said: “extending into a carving 360, completely obliterating the lip, and continuing down the line in one clean motion”….mmm…which did not occur in the final. Kelly did a 360 continuing down the line in one clean motion in an earlier heat but not in the final. please review the footage, where: “Kelly followed-up his 10-point ride by extending into a carving 360, getting stuck in the white water before continuing down the line in unclean motions”….

  • Dirt

    @Ben and dirtbag, Get over it, Kelly is always overscored. It didn’t go his way this time so he and you cracked the shits.

    @ kelly. Now you know what it has been like for everyone that surfs against you.

  • brian smith

    First of all i would like to say i am Ozzie and i love Mick fanning. Micks first 9.2 was not worthy of the score. He surfed the wave well but the last straight double grab credit card air was really safe and pretty lame really. How the hell they awarded him a 9 plus for that and so early in the heat i have no idea. Had he finished with a full rotation no hands grab air rev like kelly and yadin had been doing earlier in the event there would have only been an 8th of a point to go higher. The difference between a commited air reverse no grab on the shorebreak from a credit card double grab is more then an 8th of a point!!! A mid 8 would have made more sence for micks 1st wave. The judges clearly scored mick on his own scale. Mick probably only could have surfed that wave and 8th of a point better then he did. say kelly got micks first wave and surfed it the same as mick did they would have only given him a low 8. So if you put it that way it kinda makes sence as wrong as it is. Micks 9.7 was great and closer to the score given id say a low 9. He didnt finish his wave!!!! Kellys 10 was hands down a 10. no one else can do that and until they can the judging should stay the same for airs that big. Kellys two 8.07s are where things are really blatantly wrong. It actually makes me sick. the two eights were with in .1 of a point from being scored in the seven point range. Kelly claimed both waves!Kelly doesnt claim eights i have seen him get tens and not claim them. The king knows he got the score, you know he got the score, i know he got the score ,Mick knows, the judges know, e v e r y o n e k n o w s w h o w o n t h a t f i n a l ! ! !

  • ricky

    I don’t get how you can watch this video and then give a crap about the figures.
    Makes me want to burn every last bit of equipment I own. When did all the accountants arrive?! The surfing was insane and thats all you should have seen. This sport is like no other. We dont have a finish line or bullseye to hit. No goals and posts to run through or kick crap at like idiots. Stop making it some retarded shopping mall junkfest and let it be the artform it is.

  • Ben

    Interesting, are my comments being removed?

  • mark

    Shea you are one of my all time favorite goofy foots and typically an excellant writer BUT… Brother you are writing for Surfer not the Cocoa Beach gazette. Get Kelly’s most likely very impressive pair outta your mouth and inject some objectivity into your recap.

    What a final!!! Kelly’s air was without question the best ever in a contest and, according to Slater, his best ever anytime. And Mick’s 9.7 was imho perfectly surfed. The tension and excitement I felt while watching the final was indescribable and it seems a shame to have endless anonymous commenters ripping the impossible job of wct judging after the fact. The vibe of those 4o minutes was incredible! And watching Mick run through the crowd high fiving and Kelly hugging him and smiling after his initial anger was as good as pro surfing gets.

  • Mik

    @Fandangles Frotha : I totally agree. The worst burnjob of the event was giving Bede the win over Kolohe Andino, who was the second most exciting surfer of the contest. Kolohe scorched Bede. Bede was essentially given a 10 for a single power off the lip, or maybe for a displaced fist-pump????

  • sam

    If one move on a wave like Bells /J Bay can score a ten ,we are going to have a lot of Brazilian future world champs .

  • Ben

    @Dirt, here’s the gauntlet: Show me a wave, any wave, ever, where Mick does something that Slater doesn’t do in his sleep. In other words, back up your assertions regarding Mick’s performances. If and when you invariably fail, I will retort with what must be several thousand waves in Slater’s favor. Provide some substance to back up your claims, or else simply admit that you have a personal financial interest in Rip Curl.

  • Dirt

    @Ben, Challenge accepted. In 2009, the year Mick won his second title, Mike parsons, Taylor knox and Kolohe all commented before the Trestles Comp that they have NEVER seen anyone surf lowers as good as Mick was. Mick Fanning has an incredible abillity to rack up a series of quality lightning fast turns with precision (no bogs or bobles). You see Ben, one quality turn is hard to do, two in a row without losing speed, much harder, but to do 3 or more at high speed without bogs or bobbles is in the realm of the pro’s. Nobody does em faster or crisper than Mick.
    However Ben, if what your wanting is for me to admit that Kelly is a greater surfer than Mick, I’ll happily do it. Kelly is. But as Shea said, Kelly cant keep up with Mick’s “face work”.
    BTW I’m happy to give you this free surfing lesson Ben because you’re obviously a kook that doesn’t understand nor could identify good surfing. YOUR WELCOME.

  • Harry

    *sigh*.. No, it wasn’t a “delight” or “pleasure” to watch.. it was horrifying, to see the best surfer hung out to dry by the judges. I was livid.

    To any of you questioning whether Kelly’s air was worthy of ten points, consider this: It was undeniably the single best air ever done in a contest in the history of pro surfing. Ever.
    It was also the best air Kelly has ever done. (he said so himself). Nobody comes close to Kelly when he is surfing at his best. So it’s safe to assume that this was the best air ever done by any surfer in the sport of surfing, contest or not.

    Of course it was a ten, you mugs.

    As for the 9.7, not only was that wildly unfair to Kelly, but imagine how embarrassed Mick must be, watching his 9.7 alongside with either of Kelly’s 8 point ride. He’s not an idiot. He knows, exactly how that should have gone. Not a very nice way to win.. I’d say it’s an ugly situation for all parties involved.

    It really puts a big stain on the integrity of Rip Curl, and the ASP.. I’m so disgusted.

    ugh yuk.. makes me want to vomit. Surfing should determine the winner, not sponsor’s decisions, political agendas and money. What a disgusting organization this has become.

  • Harry

    Come on Dirt.. are you really trying to argue that Mick is better at linking maneuvers than Kelly? Seriously.. I’m not even going to argue with you on that. It’s just ridiculous.

    Ben, don’t encourage him.. this guy is obviously one of those anti-elitist people, who can’t stand the fact that any one person can be so much better than anyone else. Let him ramble on by himself. Just the mere topic of “is Mick better than Kelly at anything” is stupid.

  • Harry

    Dirt I just scrolled down and read a few of your other comments.. yep you’re exactly the type I pegged you for.

    Get off the crack mate.. Kelly is not “always overscored”. in fact, he often has to work harder for his scores because he’s raised the bar so high.

  • Rob

    The thing is, year after year kelly slater is still the main reason to watch surf contests. Even when he loses (and I think is was fair) he is the man, he put it on a show for everybody, I bet he makes people cry… Heres comes the 12

  • Dirt

    @Harry, I give up, your right, Kelly is best at everything. He’s smoother that Parko, faster that mick, charges harder than Andy, flies higher than Dane, more powerfull than Occy, rides pipe better than John John, better looking than julian and got more hair than Wilko, he’s a perfect man.

  • Yankee Doodle

    Young aussie punks are becoming increasingly hostile against the winning Yank. The little mischievants can’t sleep since they’re getting beaten so badly. And it’s been going on for soooooooo loooooong! It’s PTSD from the North Shore. The last good surfer to wear a Rip Curl was Tom Curren.

  • john b

    Leave the politics otta surfing…makes it look cheap.

  • Mario

    I have to agree with some of these comments, the judging was bias , but Mick
    did surf really ! Kelly’s surfing was just amazing as well but he did make a few
    errors , I have to agree that Mick’s first wave was way over-scored, and politics
    did over-shadow the out-come ( scoring) and Rip-Curl is the main sponsor
    need we say more!!!!!!

  • Ben

    @ Dirt, I ask for an example and you provide hearsay. BTW, Snips’ opinion on trestles is seriously distorted, e.g. his recent assertion that Kolohe’s wave in one of his finals (an admittedly impressive triple aerial job) was the best wave surfed at Trestles EVER (I assume that subsumes his prior assertion about Mick, BTW) when Dane had done things on that wave which made Kolohe look like a twelve-year-old. TK, need I remind you, also rides for Rip Turd, and Mick has actually been arrested after having his lip prints found on TK’s ass. Again, give me a wave of Mick’s which Slater cannot surpass. BTW, No need for the surf lesson, I very much respect Mick’s ability to whip through turns at lightning speed, but Slater can and has done better. Finally, I agree with you on some things: AI was a better heavy-water surfer (as their man on man record attests) and Parko is unequivocally smoother (not to mention a better surfer than the aforementioned Mick IMO) than Slater. BUT, I am still waiting for your example.

  • Evansky

    1) The actual surfing in the finals was a blast to watch. Mick surfed so gracefully. And I’m glad that the pressure got Kelly to pull out the stops.
    2) Kelly is a dynamite freak of nature, a fantastic surfer, and a legend for the ages. The best surfer alive, in many respects.
    3) Kelly’s fans are incredibly loyal, always ready to defend him.

    4) No one but Jimmy Joe (April 6) has commented here on how Kelly lucked out that he didn’t get eliminated in the heat with Flores. If Flores hadn’t had interference called on him, Kelly wouldn’t even be in the finals. That interference call was probably legit, but Kelly himself said in the post-heat interview he didn’t think it was.

    5) Kelly also said that the winner of the finals would be the guy who caught the best wave. That turned out to be Mick.

    6) In the heat, Mick’s surfing was more fluid than Kelly (I enjoyed watching his high scoring waves more than Kelly’s runs). The judging criteria was clear from the start of the competition–fluid runs that used the whole wave were most valued. (I love how Kelly crushed the lip with his 360 carves. Kelly surfed great, but if you bring a pie to a cake-baking contest, you won’t score as high.)

    7) Aren’t those judges from five different countries? I don’t believe that they gave the win based on sponsorships. I think they did their best, and it’s just hard to accept that Mick baked the preferred cake in that particular heat.

    8) And while it sucked to see Kelly get a little robbed, it was sweet to see the local boy finally get his second win at Bells.

    9) And Kelly got over it, at least put his game face on and made good with it. Maybe we should too.

    10) Dang, that was some fine surfing! Cheers to all!

  • Dirt

    @Ben. What is wrong with you?. Kelly and Mick have gone head to head 15 times, Kelly won 8, Mick won 7. It would not be possible to beat Kelly nearly half the time without strengths in some area. Hell, Micks not even one of my favourite surfers anyway, I prefer Parko, Dane, Julian to name just a few, and i have no financial interest in rip. I believe in giving credit when credit is due. The fact is Mick surfs with a speed and precision through turns that is different to Kellys, and some people really appreciate that kind of surfin. I am sick of this argument, its stupid, its like arguing over who’s a better musician, Edie Veder or Kurt Cobain. Peace bro.

  • Jeff

    Kelly made a rare strategic blunder in misreading the crucial mood of the event. He surfed how MP would have surfed if he was young today. The judges wanted vintage MP.

    The fact that he did two critical committed maneuvers that Mick can’t even do free surfing would have won any other event. Even if kelly had just caught those same rides in reverse order he would have won. As a first scoring ride the 360 would have gathered a 9 to 9.4.

    Mick benefitted from his country, his comeback, his sponsors but kelly just misread the mood. He was too much about kelly and not enough about MP

  • Martin agar

    Just watched the final and thought fannings surfing was boring in comparison to slaters performance! Slater must have been wondering what the hell fanning had been doing in the final to beat him!! Fanning took no risks! Slater was absolutely robbed, and the judges should feel very embarrassed like I do for them! Event sponsored by rip curl and gifted to the employee!

  • Jimmy Joe

    @Jeff That is probably the most insightful comment response I’ve read. I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but just yesterday I went back and took another look at the earlier heats and noticed that the judges were pretty consistently scoring other surfers very high for waves that were similar to Mick’s in the final. They were definitely favoring the carving approach consistently throughout. I’m still partial to Kelly for the win, and didn’t really feel like he was ‘too much about Kelly’ – as you said his approach was what MP would have been doing if he was young today – which I think is a tribute. But after going back through the heat review it’s clear that the judges were consistent, which does imply a strategic blunder on Kelly’s part, and eliminates the controversy over the outcome, at least for me.

  • Jimmy Joe

    @Evansky That was a great way of putting it!

    “Kelly surfed great, but if you bring a pie to a cake-baking contest, you won’t score as high”

    @Dirt Nice riposte!

    “Kelly’s … better looking than Julian and got more hair than Wilko, he’s a perfect man.”

  • John

    I just hope the judges are reading these comments. Heck, even Mick knows down deep that Kelly really won.

  • charliep

    i like the argument in the final comparing who’s better between eddie vedder and kurt kobain


    it pretty clear

    crystal clear actually

    eddie vedder sucks shit

  • Helder Bras

    This is in response to Mr. Dirt.
    In regards to who surfs better i think history will tell, in some ten years mick will come fat and do some drive with is dog and have maybe 3 world titles, but kelly: 12 world titles, perhaps 7 pipe masters, at least 1 eddie aikau, 48 wct wins just for the record. So do you think this is due to overscoring heats??.
    Regardless to the heat in discussion it may have gone to both, but think this: in my opinion do 3 same top turns in a wave even in Bells and came unstuck in the finish manouver wont get a 9.7. You must add to the criteria variety.
    So please respect the guy that puts the money on asp and is responsable for the paycheque to every one in pro surfing. The day of is retirement pro surfing will suffer.

  • Carlos Politano

    Kelly won the heat period… I am a huge Mick F. fan, but to argue that Mick won that heat, it’s only because he was home, and the Aussies needed an home boy to ring the bell… At the Kelly still was the bigger man, as he cheered Mick on his win… Can you say HUMBLE? Kelly is by far the best surfer ever and he will be more manu more years to come… John John is the only young surfer out there with the Kelly potential for many world titles…

  • John Walton

    Got my new Foxtel up and running then proceeded to watch my first 2 ASP events in totality. My verdict? The surfing is amazing and the judging is average.

  • Dave Sherman

    Say what you mean Shea. Kelly won the heat…..he carves and launches. Mick only carves.

  • Kelly

    Mick caught the better set waves and executed solid manuevors. Kelly ripped smaller waves but came up just short. No conspiracy. Simple mathmatics. Better waves + solid manuevors = win. I am an American and I was rooting for the best man to win. Yes I favor the American KS but you cannot minimize Micks execution and power moves on the bigger waves. He surfed great all event and surfed better than KS in the final. Remove the emotional element and you’ll see the truth. Nice work to both finalists. They gave us all something to cheer for.
    Thank you,

  • PT808

    Judges sheet had the “American” Judge favoring Mick the whole heat ? This American judge should be suspended for unfair/ illiterate judging! The 360 wave from Kelly put the nail in the coffin!

  • Scott

    What would you think if someone won bells, Jbay, trestles or pipe with a 1 turn wave ?
    It would destroy the beauty of surfing !
    Skaters turns didn’t link with flow micks did, if he didn’t get caught up in the lip with that carving 360 yeh he would of done it. Extremely minor stumble but judges don’t rate it.
    Slater caught the scraps that mick left behind !

  • jon

    Both ripped and you could debate Kelly’s 8.07’s all you want – the point is when you watch their two best waves in the final, Mick deserved the win, the best surfer in the heat won the heat. Kelly’s 10 should not have been, not at Bells. At Brazil, France, Lowers etc – yes. At Bells, Tavy, Chopes or Pipe? No.

  • http://surfer Kimbo

    great to here from you Scott , its taken about 100 posts to finally read the truth. watched it live and that final exactly how you have described it . There was no complaints from the people who watched it live from the beach , Kellys surfing looked frantic and jerky . His hissy fit on the steps after the final and his disgraceful display of sportmanship by continueling trying to ring the bell summed up the whole scene .

  • Tupat


  • helmet

    I can do turns like Mick was doing, but I sure can’t do that air and carving 360 Slater did. Robbery, nothing more needs to be said.

  • Chris

    Fantastic final. And possibly the best year of pro surfing to come. What’s with all the whining??

  • http://surfer Kimbo

    Helmet , could you please post a vid of you doing turns like Mick does.

  • MP

    Great surfing competition. Pity about the final and the ASP Judges who are all over the place on scoring…. A bit amateurish judging for a professional event.

    And please no 9point floater rides in brazil this year!!!