Slater, Martinez go big at Bells Beach

Channel Islands team rider Kelly Slater and Santa Barbara’s very own Bobby Martinez posted excellent results at the just-finished Rip Curl Pro in Australia.

Slater, in a quest for his 10th world title, won his 42nd career tour event to rocket up to second in the world rankings behind Australian Taj Burrow. Martinez and Burrow bowed out in the semifinals to record equal-thirds while Mick Fanning and Slater dueled for the crown.

Bobby Martinez finished equal third at the Rip Curl Pro in Australia on Friday. Martinez was defeated by eventual winner Kelly Slater, his result moving him to ASP World No. 4. (ASP Photo/ Kirstin Scholtz)

A matching result at Snapper Rocks in early march has Martinez in fourth place in the season’s standings after two events, which is the best start of his five-years on tour. Ahead of him is Jordy Smith, Slater and Taj Burrow. Although he’s never reached the final at Bells Beach, it was Bobby’s third semifinal appearance in five years there.

Slater defeated Martinez in the semifinals 14.66-3.80 despite a reported hairline fracture in his left foot. Martinez struggled in the heat after matching Slater with the highest heat score in the quarterfinals(15.10).

Slater, whose long-term injury status is unclear, went on to defeat Fanning 17.03-12.00 in the final.

Competition at the contest’s main event site, Bells Beach, was limited. Instead, event organizers elected to go with nearby breaks at Thirteenth Beach for Round 3, the opening half of Round 4 at Winkipop and the final day was completed at Johanna Beach.

The Tour makes its next stop in Santa Catarina, Brazil for the Santa Catarina Pro. The event’s waiting period begins on April 23.