Home Australia ‘You always have to believe in yourself’: American rookie and teen sensation take out Bells Beach titles

‘You always have to believe in yourself’: American rookie and teen sensation take out Bells Beach titles

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Cole Houshmand

Rookie Cole Houshmand and teen sensation Caitlin Simmers pulled off a double in Southern California, winning their first Rip Curl Pro titles on a dramatic final day at Bells Beach.

Houshmand defeated his close friend and San Clemente neighbor, Griffin Colapinto, 13.50-12.80 in the men’s final. Colapinto entered the fourth stop of the 2024 World Surf League season at the top of the standings, having won the previous event in Portugal.

But it was Houshmand, 23, who emerged victorious on Wednesday, becoming the third player this century to salute at the Bells’ historic half-time break.

Rookie Cole Houshmand took the men’s title at Bell’s Beach.(Getty Images: Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)

“This is unreal. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll understand it for a while,” Houshmand said.

“I’ve been visualizing this every day for the last two weeks, ringing that bell, and I guess it works.

“It has been very hard work. I am speechless.”

Simmers left it late before beating France’s Johanne Defay 12.77-11.60 in the women’s final.

The 18-year-old caught what turned out to be the decisive wave with just 15 seconds left.

“On my last wave I was thinking this could be the solution,” said Simmers, who replaces Defay at the top of the world rankings heading into the next round in Margaret River.

“I had just caught my other wave and my legs were hurting.

“I was rowing as fast as I could and it was almost too late to do it.

“In this sport you always have to believe in yourself. That happens.”

Simmers edged defending world champion and fellow American Caroline Marks in the semifinals, while Houshmand defeated South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray to advance to the men’s final.

After two successive rest days, a marked improvement in conditions led organizers to resume competition in clean four- to six-foot waves.


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