Stage Set For Finals Day at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy

Published on 31/03/2024

BELLS BEACH, Victoria, Australia (Sunday, March 31, 2024) – The stage is set for Finals Day at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy, Stop No. 4 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT). Today saw the completion of the men’s and women’s Quarterfinals as the competition returned to the Bells Bowl, much to the delight of the Easter Sunday crowds that filled the sand.  

After all eight Quarterfinals heats were surfed, the incoming tide began to slow the consistency of the Bells Bowl, and the event was called off for the rest of the day leaving just the Semifinals and Finals to be surfed when competition resumes. With poor winds and small surf forecast for tomorrow, the event will be OFF on Monday, April 1, with the next call to be made on Tuesday, April 2.

Colapinto and Hennessy Set The Standard in Quarterfinals 

Fresh off a win at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Griffin Colapinto (USA) arrived at Bells brimming with confidence with the yellow jersey on his back. The San Clemente surfer has had one thing on his mind all week: finding his way to Finals Day, and that was made clear today. Colapinto came up against San Diego’s Jake Marshall (USA) in Quarterfinal 3 and looked unstoppable from the get-go, combining aerial progression with clean drawn-out powerlines to post the highest heat total of the event, a 16.90 (out of a possible 20). Marshall was eliminated in Equal 5th place as he continues a breakthrough year on the CT. 

“I kinda had a feeling it was going to pulse because the heat before mine was so slow,” Colapinto said. “It happens a bit, and it’s kinda California style. Lowers does that a lot. The texture and pace of the wave are so similar to home. It just comes down to finding your lineups, but it feels so similar, and I feel like all of us Cali boys are feeling pretty comfortable. Jake and I have been a huge part of each other’s lives since we were like mini groms. We’ve built up this crazy rivalry since we were young, and part of the reason we are where we are now is because of what we had when we were little. It got pretty hectic for a bit, and there were some funny stories that went down, but we resolved it all, and when he made the Tour, we both put it all in the past and decided to have each other’s backs on this Tour because it’s really hard.”

Brisa Hennessy (CRC) posted the highest single wave score of the women’s Quarterfinals with an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) and the biggest heat total with a 15.83 (out of a possible 20). Putting on a dominant performance to defeat Tour rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA), Hennessy secured her best result at Bells, moving through to the Semifinals against Johanne Defay (FRA). 

“I felt really in the moment and connected with Bells, thinking about the history here and all the incredible surfers and people that have come before us,” said Hennessy. “The sunrise was insane this morning, and I just felt like I was meant to be here. Sawyer is incredible. Her backhand surfing is so sharp. I really admire her grit. It’s really hard being a rookie on Tour. I really wanted to just stick to my game, and I think my biggest competitor is myself. At the end of the day, I have a lot of mental battles and those inner voices. I’m just trying to keep calm in there. To make the Final, it’s definitely going to take good wave selection and being smart on what waves I’m picking, as well as holding on at that end section. But I’m feeling a little spark right now.”

Reigning Winner Ewing Eliminated, First-Time Bell Ringers Guaranteed 

Cole Houshmand (USA) has continued his impressive run of form at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, earning a spot in the Semifinals with a heat win over reigning event winner and Bells favourite Ethan Ewing (AUS). Houshamnd put the pressure on off the bat, posting a 9.07 (out of a possible 10) on his opening ride, then backing it up with a mid-range score. Ewing posted a mid-range score of his own and then waited with priority for a set that never came with the ocean going flat for the last 12 minutes of the heat. Ewing leaves Bells with an equal 5th-place finish, while Houshmand is guaranteed the biggest result of his CT career as he looks to move above the Mid-season Cut line. 

The opening heat of the day saw CT veteran Johanne Defay (FRA) take on Local Trials winner Ellie Harrison (AUS) in what was set to be an exciting matchup. Defay looked solid all heat, taking an early lead and controlling it throughout the heat. With plenty of hometown support on the beach, Harrison fought hard but was unable to progress, ending her first CT appearance with an equal fifth. Defay is through to her second Finals Day in as many events and has moved to first place on the rankings for the first time in her career. 

“I knew Ellie (Harrison) would have a lot of support on the beach as she is from here,” Defay said. “I love the passion of the locals, especially here in Australia, where surfing is so popular. I had a similar amount of support in Portugal last week, so I was ready for it and knew just to focus on my surfing. Bells is a hard place to select waves, and I knew Ellie would have the local knowledge, so I tried to get busy and catch plenty of waves. When I landed that throw-tail, I was so happy to get rewarded for it.” 

Caitlin Simmers (USA) put on a commanding performance in her Quarterfinal matchup with Gabriela Bryan (HAW), posting a 15.50 two-wave total to book a spot in the Semifinals. Simmers’ speed and flow were a perfect match for the Bells Bowl as she set herself a matchup with reigning World Champion Caroline Marks (USA) in Semifinal 2. Marks took a close heat win over fellow goofy-footer Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in Quarterfinal 3.

Semifinalists Decided at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach  

Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) can breathe a little easier after defeating the injury wildcard and close friend Morgan Ciblic (AUS) to secure himself a spot on Finals Day. Sitting around the Cut line, a Semifinal appearance for McGillivray will better his ranking, with hopes of making the Cut and keeping his place on Tour. 

“It was funny to surf a heat against such a good friend,” said McGillivray. “Morgan and I started travelling together on the Challenger Series, and it’s crazy the journey we have come on together. I wish we got more waves in that heat, we pretty much tied. I fell off randomly and made a mistake, but it put me in position for the next set wave and got me in better rhythm with the ocean. I was definitely feeling the pressure coming into this event. Having the Cut every year, you don’t want to leave it up to Margaret River because then the pressure is really on. With Bells being a right-hand point break like my home break, I wanted to capitalize here, and it’s so nice to be able to breathe a bit easier and sleep a bit better at night, so I’m happy.”

The last heat of the day witnessed Rio Waida (INA) come up against 2024 CT Rookie Kade Matson (USA) as both surfers hunt for their best results of the season. Both competitors looked on fire at Winkipop yesterday and it was set to be an exciting matchup on the Bowl. Waida found a rhythm, posting a 12.17 two-wave total (out of a possible 20), while Matson was unable to find the waves he needed until the last minute, leaving him still searching for a score. Waida will take on Griffin Colapinto in his first-ever CT Semifinal appearance. 

“I’m always dreaming of making Finals, but at the same time, I try to stay focused step by step,” Waida said. “I made the Quarterfinals, and I was happy, but the job wasn’t done, and now I’m making the Semis, so of course I’m happy but the job is never done. Even if I win this event I’ll just keep trying to get better. I fell off a couple of waves. Maybe I was nervous, but after I fell, I thought, ‘Okay, I need to make the next wave.’ I played the game a bit, and luckily, the waves came to me, and I got the job done.”

For highlights from today’s competition at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy, please visit

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 12.17 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 12.16
HEAT 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.84 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 6.00
HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.90 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 11.83
HEAT 4: Rio Waida (INA) 12.17 DEF. Kade Matson (USA) 6.64

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.13 DEF. Ellie Harrison (AUS) 10.86
HEAT 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 15.83 DEF. Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 11.74
HEAT 3: Caroline Marks (USA) 11.94 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.76
HEAT 4: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 15.50 DEF. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 14.07

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA)
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
HEAT 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA)

For more information, please visit

Watch LIVE
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy will be broadcast LIVE on and the free WSL appCheck out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in the United States, coverage of the competition’s Quarterfinals and beyond will continue co-exclusively on and ESPN+.The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy is proudly supported by Rip Curl, Visit Victoria, Bonsoy, Red Bull,  SHISEIDO, YETI, Surfline, TrueSurf, Eventbrite, Apple Watch, GWM, Oakberry, Bailey Ladders, Boost Mobile, Coopers, Bond University, Bioglan, Weatherguard, Hydralyte, and mophie.

For more information, please visit

My Profile

Login to your profile or Sign up to our new Surfing Portal


Head to your Surfing Portal to purchase or renew memberships

Events & Courses

Head to your Surfing Portal to enter events and courses


Other News

Surf Her Way Photographer – Zoe Strapp

Surf Her Way Photographer – Zoe Strapp

Welcome to our Surf Her Way Photographer for April - Zoe Strapp. Now based on the Surf Coast of Victoria, she is has fuelled her passion for the ocean and surf photography by transversing across our beautiful country's...

read more