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Greatest Wildcard Performances in Rip Curl Pro Bells History

A look at the greatest wildcard performances in Rip Curl Pro history.

1. Nick Wood (1987): At just 16, in his first time competing in a world pro tour event, young Nicky Wood defeated a legendary field of tour heavyweights, including Tom Curren and Shaun Tomson, to claim the most prized trophy in surfing and shock the surfing world. He remains the youngest male surfer to win a world tour event and the only one to win in his professional debut.

2. Chris Davidson (1996): Nineteen-year-old Chris Davidson was coming off a year spent on the Search pioneering exotic waves around the globe when he was given a wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro. Despite not having surfed a heat in months and riding a borrowed board, Davo caught fire at Bells, disposing of world champion Kelly Slater – not once but twice – in the same event.

3. Mick Fanning (2001): Mick Fanning was still a fresh-faced 19-year-old grom when he made the most of his wildcard opportunity and charged into the final rounds of the 2001 Rip Curl Pro, defeating veteran tour surfer Danny Wills by a narrow 1.7-point margin in the final. Mick's unlikely win at Bells proved to be the catalyst for an incredible year which saw him win the World Qualifying Series, secure a place on the World Tour for 2002, and be named Surfer magazine's “Breakthrough Performer of the Year.”

4. Adam Robertson (2009): Local boy Adam Robertson did Victoria proud in '09, surfing his way from the local trials all the way to the final of the main event, to the delight of the big crowds gathered on the beach. His fairytale run came to an end against an in-form Joel Parkinson in perfect Bells conditions in the final. With his remarkable performance, Robbo became just the second Victorian after Terry Wall (in 1962 and 1966) to finish runner-up in the main event at Bells.

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