The moment she nailed it, Courtney Conlogue knew it was a 10.
The first perfect wave score on the women's or men's World Surf League tours this season gave Conlogue the lead in her Bells Beach final on Saturday. The 26-year-old American went on to win her third women's Bells Beach title, beating Hawaiian giant killer Malia Manuel.
"Right when I finished the wave, it felt right,"
Conlogue said. It is only the second perfect 10 wave score 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 definitely a crazy way to win a bell."
It was also a far cry from this time last year when Conlogue was at Bells Beach with her foot in a moon boot.
Florence claims maiden Bells crown
John John Florence won his first men's Bells Beach title, with the Hawaiian ace also back in the tour lead for the first time since his 2016-17 world titles. Florence was the standout in the men's event on Saturday, after almost being washed onto the rocks during Friday's competition. He beat reigning world champion Gabriel Medina in their headline quarter-final and downed 2017 Bells Beach champion Jordy Smith in the semi-finals. Florence faltered early in his final against Brazil's Filipe Toledo, but had the lead with 12 seconds left. Toledo needed a 6.98 wave score, but only managed a 5.90.
Saturday was also a triumph for Australian wildcard Ryan Callinan, who narrowly lost his first Bells Beach semi-final to Toledo. His mother Janice died in 2017, just over a year after he also lost father Garry. He was the last Australian in the men's or women's draws at Bells Beach. Such a strong performance will boost Callinan's chances of rejoining the world tour for the first time since 2016.