Americans win both surf events at Bells Beach in Australia

BELLS BEACH, Australia — John John Florence won the men's event after fellow American and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater was eliminated in the quarterfinals, while American Courtney Conlogue took the women's competition at the Bells Beach World Surf League stop.

Florence beat Filipe Toledo of Brazil in a close final Saturday. Toledo needed a score of 6.98 points when he caught his last wave with 12 seconds left, but the judges awarded 5.90 and Florence won 14.30 to 13.98.

Australian Ryan Callinan defeated Slater 12.67 points to 5.67 in the first quarterfinal heat of the day in two-meter (6 1-2 feet) swells.

Slater was eliminated in his second-round heat in the WSL's season-opening event two weeks ago on the Gold Coast in Australia's Queensland state.

Conlogue beat fellow American Malia Manuel in the final, scoring the first 10-point wave ride on the world tour this year, among both the men and the women, to take the lead in the final. She won 15.83 to 14.84 to add to her 2016 and 2017 Bells Beach titles.

"Right when I finished the wave, it felt right," Conlogue said of her perfect score. "You don't always know, but you feel it."

It was only the second 10 of Conlogue's career.

"Right when I dropped in, I thought 'wow, this canvas is just so beautiful' and it was a classic Bells bowl wave," she said. "It was definitely a thrill."

It was Manuel's first Bells Beach final after she upset Australian defending champion and seven-time world titleholder Stephanie Gilmore in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Manuel beat 17-year-old American Caroline Marks, who won the opening Gold Coast event.

The WSL circuit will help determine qualifiers for next year's Tokyo Olympics, where surfing will make its debut. The top 10-ranked men and eight highest-ranked women on the 2019 tour will be among those qualifying for the 2020 Games.

Slater has said he hopes to qualify for the U.S. team. He will be 48 next February.


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