BELLS BEACH, Torquay, Victoria / Australia (Tuesday, August 29, 2023) – The best Longboard surfers on the planet have arrived in Victoria ahead of the inaugural Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic presented by Rip Curl, Stop No. 2 on the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour.
The iconic walls of Bells Beach have played host to surf history for over 60 years, and that continues in 2023 with the arrival of 45 of the biggest names in Longboarding, including World Champions Honolua Blomfield (HAW), Taylor Jensen (USA), Soleil Errico (USA), Steven Sawyer (RSA) and Rachael Tilly (USA).
Many of the competitors were thrilled to capture their first-ever glimpse of the famed Bells Beach lineup this week, including Brazil’s Chloe Calmon (BRA).
“It’s funny because I’ve been on tour for 14 years, but this year feels so exciting with new venues on tour like Bells and El Salvador,” Calmon said. “We have a lot of new names on tour, a lot of good talent coming up from the younger generation. So it just feels exciting coming to different locations.”
After multiple previous runner-up finishes, Calmon has fresh energy in her aim for the elusive World Title. “I’ve never felt so motivated to chase the title,” Calmon continued. “I got a fifth in the US Open, and I’m really, really excited to put the jersey back on here at Bells.”
Fresh off wins at the recent Huntington Beach Longboard Classic, Hawaiian cousins Kelis Kaleopa’a and Kaniela Stewart hope to maintain their hold on the rankings with successful showings at Bells Beach.
“It’s pretty iconic,” Kaleopa’a said. “You grow up watching the shortboarders here almost every year surfing at an insane level, and I feel like to have a Longboard Championship Tour event here is just as special, you know. I think everybody is just so stoked to be able to be here.”
Stewart’s arrival last week lined up with an incredible swell, allowing for some amazing warm-up sessions.
“Bells is definitely a world-class wave, so to have a longboard event here is super awesome,” Stewart said. “Personally, I love it, it’s so much fun. It’s like surfing the North Shore. It’s got some punch; it’s got some power to it. I definitely like it a lot.”
Pictured: Current World No.1s Kaniela Stewart (HAW) and Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) will look for another big result at Bells Beach this week. Credit: © WSL / Nolan
Ben Considine Leads Local Charge at Bells
Local Ben Considine (AUS) can’t wait to chase down his first big result on home turf. The 26-year-old has been competing on the Longboard Tour since 2017 and is stoked to welcome his fellow competitors to his part of the world.
“I’ve grown up surfing around here, and the point breaks in between, and I definitely like my chances out there just because I do know the wave so well,’ Considine said. “That being said, this past couple of weeks, everyone has been shredding. I know I’m going to have to really step it up a notch in order to make sure that I can progress my way through the rounds.”
The Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic presented by Rip Curl Trials were held today in clean two-to-three-foot waves at Torquay Point, with a large field of both national and international competitors battling it out for a place in the main event.
Veteran Western Australia competitor Lucy Small (AUS) claimed the women’s event, while 16-year-old Jack Tyro (NZL) of Christchurch, New Zealand won the men’s. Due to the withdrawal of Haley Otto (HAW), women’s runner-up Kaede Inoue (JPN) will join Small in the main event.
Pictured: Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard, Classic pres. by Rip Curl Trials competitors Kaede Inoue (JPN), Lucy Small (AUS) and Jack Tyro (NZL), have all earned spots in the main event. Credit: © WSL / Sloane
Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Declan Wyton (AUS) vs. Steven Sawyer (RSA) vs. Matias Maturano (PER)
HEAT 2: Tony Silvagni (USA) vs. Kaimana Takayama (USA) vs. Landen Smales (AUS)
HEAT 3: Taylor Jensen (USA) vs. John Michael Van Hohenstein (HAW) vs. Samuel Dunton (AUS)
HEAT 4: Kaniela Stewart (HAW) vs. Kai Ellice-Flint (AUS) vs. Jack Tyro (NZL)
HEAT 5: Ben Skinner (GBR) vs. Cole Robbins (USA) vs. Ben Considine (AUS)
HEAT 6: Kai Sallas (HAW) vs. Richie Cravey (USA) vs. Chase Lieder (USA)
HEAT 7: Taka Inoue (JPN) vs. Kevin Skvarna (USA) vs. Nicolás Andrade (ESP)
HEAT 8: Edouard Delpero (FRA) vs. Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL) vs. Max Weston (AUS)
Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Sophia Culhane (HAW) vs. Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) vs. Crystal Hulett (RSA)
HEAT 2: Soleil Errico (USA) vs. Luana Soares (BRA) vs. Molly Powell (AUS)
HEAT 3: Honolua Blomfield (HAW) vs. Kirra Molnar (AUS) vs. Lucy Small (AUS)
HEAT 4: Kelis Kaleopaa (HAW) vs. Liv Stokes (CAN) vs. Kaede Inoue (JPN)
HEAT 5: Chloe Calmon (BRA) vs. Avalon Gall (USA) vs. Natsumi Taoka (JPN)
HEAT 6: Rachael Tilly (USA) vs. Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) vs. Maya Glasenapp (REU)
HEAT 7: Mason Schremmer (USA) vs. Zoe Grospiron (FRA) vs. Roisin Carolan (AUS)
HEAT 8: Alice Lemoigne (FRA) vs. Tully White (AUS) vs. Keani Canullo (HAW)
Watch LIVE: Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic Presented by Rip Curl
The Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic holds a competition window from Wednesday, August 30, through Saturday, September 2, 2023. Once called on, the competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
The 2023 Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic presented by Rip Curl is proudly supported by Bioglan, Visit Victoria, Surf Coast Shire, GWM, and Rip Curl.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.