Much can be said about the state and progression of professional surfing. Yet one thing is abundantly clear, the top 3 surfers on the planet have consistently stayed within or ahead of the remaining 31 of the world’s best for over a decade. In fact, if you (rightfully) honor the late, great Andy Irons’ World Title 3-peat from ’02 through ’04, the only other to win it all beyond Joel Parkinson (’12), Mick Fanning (’07, ’09), and Kelly Slater (’05, ’06, ’08, ’10, ’11) is C.J. Hobgood in 2001. And C.J. did it without winning a single ASP event!
Though a restricted tour that year due to the tragedy that was 9/11/01, certainly impressive still.
Which brings us to the 2013 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford. This event, in and of itself, holds so many stories of legend. Not only is last year’s final between Mick and Kelly considered the best ever in the long, illustrious history at Bells, it was voted ASP Men’s Heat of the Year! Parko lost to Mick in the semis, Mick eventually went on to win the whole shebang and Kelly happily showered him with the bubbly.
And wouldn’t you know it, those 3 I mentioned who sit atop this year’s World Championship Tour to date are defending 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson, 2012 World Runner-UP, current World #1 and 11X World Champion Kelly Slater (who already holds the hardware from event no. 1, the Quicksilver Pro Goldcoast), and defending Rip Curl Pro Bells Champion Mick Fanning. All legends in their own right, and all more than capable of “ringing the bell” this year.
As Mr. Fanning said of Kelly’s 10 pt air in the 2012 final that blew everyone’s mind: “ Oh, here we go!”
Fitting indeed. So, let’s start the show.