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Rail Surfing Reigns Supreme as Ethan Ewing Joins His Mother as a Bells Beach Champion

 Ethan Ewing Joins His Mother as a Bells Beach Champion

Ethan Ewing wins on the WSL


For the past year, we’ve been watching the rise of Ethan Ewing very closely. To our eyes, the young Australian has the cleanest, most technical rail game in surfing. Although big airs and fancy reverses tend to dominate the media in today’s hyper-performance-focused environment, we’ve always believed that if you want to truly make your mark with your surfing, you need to do it with exemplary fundamentals—and no one has their style and rail surfing as tight as Ethan Ewing.

This type of surfing is obviously showcased more acutely in specific venues—waves where a lack of fundamental mastery exposes the flaws in lesser surfers’ approach. J-Bay and Bells have long been considered to be some of the most difficult waves on tour to surf well, both of them making some of the world’s best surfers look like kooks due to their inability to find clean lines and maintain flow on the tricky right-hand points. Last year, it came as no surprise when Ethan Ewing won at J-Bay—at least for those who appreciate quality rail surfing. Ewing is quickly becoming the post-modern Tom Curren or Taylor Knox—a guy who is impeccable with his style and always true to his rail, but who is also capable of mixing things up with the latest in high-pro trickery. When he finished the 2022 season ranked fourth, there was no longer any denying his talent—the same talent that saw him win at one of surfing’s greatest point breaks.

2023 started out slow for Ewing, with a number of mid-field results. But we always expected him to have a breakout result at Bells. After all, it was at the Bells event in 2022 that the world got its first real look at Ewing’s prowess on the rail. Although he didn’t end up winning Bells last year, he was clearly the performer of the event, making just about everyone else in the field look slow and pedestrian by comparison. At this year’s Bells contest, he picked up right where he left off last year, dominating the Easter event from the first round all the way through to the finals, where he ended up beating fellow Australian Ryan Callinan. En route to the final, he beat defending world champion Felipe Toledo, three-time world champion Gabriel Medina, and retiring legend Owen Wright. More importantly, he looked untouchable the entire time. It’s been said that “no kook has ever won at Bells,” and Ewing continued that tradition yesterday, putting together one of the most impressive performances we’ve ever seen at the world’s longest-running professional surf contest venue.

Ethan Ewing picture on the beach after surfing


Perhaps fittingly, Ewing was following in his mother’s footsteps when he run the bell yesterday. Helen Ewing (formerly Lambert) won the Bells contest in 1983, and Ethan’s win makes them the first mother/son duo to have taken out one of surfing’s most prestigious events. The win also catapults Ewing up the ratings into fourth place—well within the mid-season cutoff and once again threatening to compete for the title at the end of the year.

On the women’s side of the draw, two more Australians stormed their way to the finals, where Tyler Wright took down current ratings leader Molly Picklum in a hard-fought heat. It was Tyler’s second win at Bells and Molly’s second finals appearance thus far this season (she won the second event of the year at Sunset). The win moved Tyler past Carissa Moore into second place on the ratings and was a fitting tribute to her brother Owen, who retired from competitive surfing at Bells this week, competing as a wild card.

Tyler Wright

There is now one event remaining before the midyear cutoff, when seven women and 10 men will be relegated to the Challenger Series. On the women’s side, the biggest names in danger of being cut include Sally Fitzgibbons, Lakey Peterson, and Courtney Conlogue. Meanwhile, Kelly Slater, Kolohe Andino, Miguel Pupo, and Ezekiel Lau all find themselves needing a result in Western Australia in order to keep their season alive.

Heading over to Margaret River, the men’s top five include Joao Chianca, local hero Jack Robinson, Felipe Toledo, Ethan Ewing, and Griffin Colapinto. Meanwhile, the top five women are Molly Picklum, Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Caitlin Simmers, and Tatiana Weston-Webb. Margaret River has a reputation as being one of the most challenging venues on tour, where just about anyone can eke out a win, so it will be interesting to see who is still alive once the dust settles. The waiting period for the event starts on April 20.

Good Read  🔎📚