Aussies dominate at Bells to set up finals showdown

Defending champion Tyler Wright is one of four Australian women into the Bells Beach semi-finals.

Defending champion Tyler Wright is one of four Australian women into the Bells Beach semi-finals. Photo: AAP

Two Australians will ring the iconic Bells Beach trophy after a day of domination by locals at the World Surf League stop.

World champion Stephanie Gilmore, rankings leader Molly Picklum, defending Bells winner Tyler Wright and Isabella Nichols all made the final four in the 60th anniversary of the famous surf break event.

And Australia’s men also made a charge on Tuesday, Ethan Ewing moving into the final where he will take on compatriot Ryan Callinan.

The Queenslander continued his giant-killing run in an effort to join his late mother as a Bells Beach champion, knocking out world champion Filipe Toledo.

Ewing first ousted three-time world champion Gabriel Medina and then found two late scores to beat South African Matthew McGillivray at the adjacent Winki Pop break.

Ewing lost to Toledo in the final four on the Victorian Surf Coast last year and has another chance to replicate his mother Helen Lambert, a trail-blazer who won at Bells Beach in 1983.

Toledo’s semi-final elimination means that Australia’s Jack Robinson will remain rankings leader and wear the yellow jersey at the next competition at his home break Margaret River later this month.

Robinson was a shock loser in the round of 32 to young local wildcard Xavier Huxtable.

Countryman Callinan upset Hawaiian John John Florence, the 2019 Bells winner and two-time world champion.

The tour veteran from Newcastle, who is currently ranked 13, hadn’t done better than a semi-final showing in four years.

Callinan posted a two-wave score of 15.30 to outsurf Florence’s 12.26 total.

World No.1 Picklum edged young Hawaiian Bettylou Sakura Johnson to set up a clash with Nichols, who took down American Caroline Marks.

Reigning Bells titleholder Wright won a thriller against Hawaii’s Carissa Moore and will face 2022 world champion Gilmore, who overcame Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb.


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