Colapinto, Simmers complete California dreams with wins at Bells Beach

1 week ago 48

Updated

Apr 03, 2024, 12:32 PM

Published

Apr 03, 2024, 12:32 PM

Caitlin Simmers got the two highest scoring waves in the last three minutes to win the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on Wednesday, while fellow Californian Cole Houshmand won his first world championship event in his rookie year to keep his place on tour.

Simmers was in trouble against Johanne Defay but rallied late to overtake the Frenchwoman in the final and also as the leader in the world rankings.

Defay, who won the previous event in Portugal and will represent France at the Paris Olympics in Tahiti, went ahead with two mid-range scores for a series of forehand turns to put pressure on the teenager.

Trailing with three and half minutes left, the 18-year-old Simmers scored a 6.10 to reduce the deficit, and with seconds remaining, scrambled into another solid wave, carving it into a 6.67 as the final hooter sounded.

"I can't even breathe. I was just thinking about how much my legs were burning on my last wave," an incredulous Simmers said on the beach.

"I was paddling as fast as I could for it and I was almost too late for it."

The men's final also went down to the wire, with good friends Houshmand and Griffin Colapinto waiting in the shallows for the scores of their last waves.

Houshmand was leading for much of the 40-minute final after building a two-wave score of 13.50 out of 20 with some powerful backhand blasts before Colapinto got a strong wave that came up just short.

While both Colapinto and Houshmand are from San Clemente in Southern California, their performances this year could not have been more different ahead of Bells.

Colapinto was wearing the leader's yellow jersey after a win in Portugal, while Houshmand was languishing near the bottom of the rankings after a disappointing first three events.

"I've been visualising this everyday for the last two weeks, ringing that bell, a...

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