Mick Fanning’s Bells Beach comeback ended by Aussie rookie Callum Robson
Posted On April 15, 2022
Callum Robson has produced an after-the-siren upset to end Mick Fanning’s shot at a record fifth Bells Beach title, but siblings Tyler and Owen Wright are still standing in the Rip Curl Pro.
- Mick Fanning’s final-wave best of 7.5 was trumped by Championship Tour rookie Callum Robson at the death
- Fanning, who was joined on the beach by his son, said he “had a great time” in his comeback
- Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons were knocked out of the competition too
Australian Robson produced a 7.77-point effort on his final wave, scores returning as he hit the beach after their round-of-16 heat to win 14.50 to 14.27.
Fanning, 40, who has come out of retirement to chase Bells history as a wildcard, reached the last 16 after eliminating world number one Kanoa Igarashi in an upset on Thursday.
The three-time world champion looked in vintage form on Friday too, carving in terrific conditions to score at least 6.17 points on four separate waves and lead for a bulk of the heat.
His final-wave best of 7.5 was trumped by Championship Tour rookie Robson, though, bringing the fairytale run to an abrupt halt.
“When I saw that wave coming in I took a deep breath and thought, ‘Alright this is my chance,'” he said.
“Waiting on the beach, I couldn’t really hear, but my mates were giving me the thumbs up.
“Mick at Bells, especially when it’s absolutely pumping … he’s one of the best, so I’m pretty happy with that win.”
Fanning was greeted by son Xander on the beach, offsetting the disappointment of his first exit before the quarter-final stage from his last 14 Bells campaigns.
“It was great fun, I had a great time,” he said.
“You want to go out just surfing [well] and Callum’s a great kid. [It was] awesome to have a heat with him, one of the groms growing up at home.
“To have this little munchkin [Xander] here … it’s been a really different Bells for me. [I] really enjoyed it, great memories.”
Earlier Owen Wright’s charge to avoid the World Surf League’s mid-season cut continued, with the Olympic bronze medallist reaching the quarter-finals.
Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons joined Fanning out the back door after crushing quarter-final exits that severely dented their hopes of making the 10-woman cut.
They will likely need to at least make the final of the next event at Margaret River in Western Australia to sneak into the top 10 and remain for the second half of the Championship Tour.
Bells Beach had produced superb conditions but Fitzgibbons could not find a wave as she battled in a 14.57 to 11.93 loss to good friend Courtney Conlogue.
“That was torturous. You watch perfect waves all day and then it turns into a swimming pool,” Fitzgibbons said.
“That was the heat … like the one against Steph in Portugal. Whoever gets this one is moving up the ratings and the other is tumbling back down, and unfortunately that has been me this year.
Owen’s sister Tyler will fly the flag as the fit-again, two-time world champion chases a Bells title, scoring a nine-point ride on her way to a semi-final against Conlogue.