Caitlin Simmers And Cole Houshmand Win The 2024 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Caitlin Simmers And Cole Houshmand Win The 2024 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

 The two first-time Bells winners were the ones to beat on Finals Day as the Bowl dished up semi-clean surf in the three-to-four-foot range. It was a historical day of competition, with a number of firsts taking place on the 61st Finals Day at Bells and the 50th with Rip Curl as the title partner.

San Clemente locals and childhood friends Cole Houshmand and Griffin Colapinto came into the Final of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach guaranteed to make history. With either of them winning, they’d be the first Californian male to hoist the Bell since Richie Collins in 1992, and with the form they displayed, it was either surfer that could take it. Houshmand started strong, posting a 7.00 (out of a possible 10) point ride on his opener and finally backing it up with a 6.50 for a 13.50 (out of a possible 20) two-wave total. Colapinto, who was the form surfer of the event, struggled to get going until the last few minutes of the match-up, and although he started to build, it wasn’t enough to overcome Houshmand. Houshmand got the win, becoming only the seventh goofy-footer to win the event in 61 years, joining names like Occhilupo, Carrol, Hardman, Lynch, Wilkinson and Ferreira.

“I'm speechless, and this is unreal,” said Houshmand. "I honestly don’t think it’s gonna sink in for a while. I’ve been visualizing this every day for the last two weeks, ringing that Bell, and I guess it works. I’m excited for the whole year. My biggest goal was to make it to Fiji as a Rookie, and now I have my sights set on a bigger goal. The Cut is out of my vision and there are bigger things for me to achieve now. The year really starts now. I told Griffin, 'This is what we've dreamed of since we were kids competing,' and I really wanted to enjoy it. It's not often you get a Final with your best friend and mentor, but then again, there’s no one I want to beat more and no one I’d rather lose to. This is probably the best day of my life.”

Selfie of the winners of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Selfie of the winners of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Houshmand came into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach sitting below the Mid-season Cut Line with an equal ninth as his best result in his rookie season. His maiden CT victory has rocketed him 18 spots up to eighth on the rankings within aim of the WSL Final 5 heading into the second half of the season.

Coming into the Final sitting in first and second on the rankings, whoever claimed the win between Caitlin Simmers and Johanne Defay would leave Bells Beach wearing the yellow Leader Jersey as World No. 1. CT veteran Dafay came into the Final with the most momentum, and it showed as she took control early. With two mid-range scores, Defay held the lead for almost the entire Final. With just three minutes remaining, Simmers took a set wave with priority, scoring a 6.10 to get herself back into contention. With less than one minute remaining, Simmers forced Defay into a closeout, leaving Simmers out the back with sets rolling in. Taking her last chance with seconds remaining, Simmers put together a range of critical maneuvers to score a 6.67, receiving the last-minute news that she had won her maiden Bell on the sand after the buzzer. 

“I was just thinking on my last wave, ‘This could be it,'" said Simmers. “In this sport, you always have to believe in yourself because that stuff happens. I still don’t believe it, and it doesn't feel real. At this high of a level, you have to figure out ways to have an edge. There’s so much for me to think about, and it feels amazing to get the win. This wave is really difficult to work out, so it feels awesome. Yeah, wow, No. 1 in the world sounds great.”

Simmers made history today, becoming the youngest woman to ever win at Bells. Simmers took out her maiden Final at Bells Beach and her second Final of the year after winning stop No. 1 at Pipeline. Simmers rings the Bell as World No. 1 and wears the yellow Leader Jersey heading into the Western Australia Margaret River Pro. 

Fresh off a win at the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Johanne Defay (FRA)  came into CT Stop No. 4 full of confidence and with her sights on grabbing the Yellow Jersey for the first time in her career. Defay looked to be the woman to beat, posting some of the highest scores in each round to become the first European competitor to contest the Bells Final. With her back-to-back Finals appearances, Defay will now head to the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, sitting solidly in second place on the rankings. 

“It feels amazing to make the finals, and I felt good out there. Too bad I made that mistake at the end,” said Defay. “I guess this is what surfing is, you’re out in the ocean, and there’s no certainty. It is what it is, and I have to swallow it, but I’m also happy to place second too. Knowing I’ve made history as the first French person to make the final at Bells feels special.”

Similar to Defay, Griffin Colapinto arrived at Bells fresh of a win in Portugal and carried plenty of that momentum into Stop 4, posting the highest heat total of the Semifinals, Quarterfinals and the event. Although disappointed, he wasn’t able to clinch his maiden win at Bells. Griffin was over the moon to share the Final with a good friend after seeing his Brother and CT Rookie Crosby Make the Cut and good friend Kade Matson earn the best result of his Rookie season, ending a great week of results for the San Clemente and Southern Californian contingent of CT surfers. Colapinto will hold onto the World No. 1 position and the yellow Leaders Jersey as he heads into Stop No. 5 at Margaret River. 

“That was bittersweet for sure,” Colapinto said. “You always want to win it, especially when you’re in the final. I don’t want to ruin this moment, though – I’m so happy for Cole. We have surfed together since we were ten, so it’s crazy to be standing up here at Bells after going at it in the final. I feel like all of the crew from San Clemente are building momentum and finding their feet on tour, which is so good. We’re all staying together in West Aus, so it will be cool to have the two Bells there next to each other.” 

Rio Waida earned his career-best CT result, finishing equal third at Bells Beach. Sitting right on the Cut-line coming into this event, a Semifinal finish at Bells jumps Waida up ten spots on the rankings to World No. 11. Matthew McGillivray equaled his career-best CT result with a Semifinal finish at Bells. An equal third moves McGillivray up to World No. 14. Both surfers now head to Margaret River with a lot less pressure on them and their spot on tour ahead of the Mid-season Cut. 

Brisa Hennessy and Caroline Marks both earned equal third-place finishes this year at Bells. This is Hennessy’s third and Mark’s second Semifinal finish of this year.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Final Results:
1 - Caitlin Simmers (USA) 12.77
2 - Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.60

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Final Results:
1 - Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.50 
2- Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.80

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.53 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 12.10
HEAT 2: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 13.93 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 9.24

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.14 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 7.77
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.83 DEF. Rio Waida (INA) 14.53

Johanne Defay and Caitlin Simmers holding their Bells TrophiesJohanne Defay and Caitlin Simmers holding their Bells Trophies
Caitlin Simmers being chaired across the beach after her winCaitlin Simmers being chaired across the beach after her win
Caitlin Simmers surfing in her winning heatCaitlin Simmers surfing in her winning heat
Cole Houshmand being chaired across the beach after his winCole Houshmand being chaired across the beach after his win
Cole Houshmand surfing in his winning heatCole Houshmand surfing in his winning heat
Cole Houshmand running down the stairs at BellsCole Houshmand running down the stairs at Bells
Griffin Colapinto surfing in his yellow jerseyGriffin Colapinto surfing in his yellow jersey