Battle of the big boys at Bells

Ricardo Christie. File picture

If Bells Beach delivers the waves, Ricardo Christie’s clash with Owen Wright could be one of the duels of the day at the latest World Surf League Championship Tour contest.

The pair are to meet in a two-man round of 32 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach — the second event on the 11-contest 2019 CT.

With both men standing at over six-foot-tall and among the bigger players on the CT, power is the major weapon in their arsenals.

Christie, 30, moved into the round of 32 with victory in his seeding heat. The Gisborne-Mahia man scored 11.83 (6.50/5.33) out of 20 for his two best waves. He headed off Brazilian Yago Dora (10.10) and Aussie Wade Carmichael (8.04), and advanced straight to the round of 32.

Twenty-nine-year-old Wright, the brother of two-time women’s world champion Tyler Wright, had to take the tougher route.

He was third in his seeding round but won his elimination heat with 11.30.

One advantage he takes into his clash with Christie is experience.

He first qualified for the CT from the 2009 World Qualifying Series, was rookie of the year in his debut 2010 season and collected his first CT win in 2012.

He was in the hunt for the crown in 2015 — Christie’s first year on the CT — including his memorable achievement of two perfect 10s in winning in Fiji, only to suffer a brain injury in a warm-up session, which forced him out of the entire 2016 season.

He made what was described as a “legendary” return in 2017, winning the season-opener on the Gold Coast.

He was sixth on the CT in 2017 and last year.

Christie won’t be overawed. Now a seasoned professional, he has already proved he can foot it among the best. And if he falls to Wright, the popular Kiwi will quickly shift focus.

However, if Christie does produce his best, Wright faces a titanic trans-tasman battle.

  • Ricardo Christie is to feature in a story on TVNZ current affairs programme Sunday this weekend. Sunday screens on TVNZ 1 from 7.30pm.

If Bells Beach delivers the waves, Ricardo Christie’s clash with Owen Wright could be one of the duels of the day at the latest World Surf League Championship Tour contest.

The pair are to meet in a two-man round of 32 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach — the second event on the 11-contest 2019 CT.

With both men standing at over six-foot-tall and among the bigger players on the CT, power is the major weapon in their arsenals.

Christie, 30, moved into the round of 32 with victory in his seeding heat. The Gisborne-Mahia man scored 11.83 (6.50/5.33) out of 20 for his two best waves. He headed off Brazilian Yago Dora (10.10) and Aussie Wade Carmichael (8.04), and advanced straight to the round of 32.

Twenty-nine-year-old Wright, the brother of two-time women’s world champion Tyler Wright, had to take the tougher route.

He was third in his seeding round but won his elimination heat with 11.30.

One advantage he takes into his clash with Christie is experience.

He first qualified for the CT from the 2009 World Qualifying Series, was rookie of the year in his debut 2010 season and collected his first CT win in 2012.

He was in the hunt for the crown in 2015 — Christie’s first year on the CT — including his memorable achievement of two perfect 10s in winning in Fiji, only to suffer a brain injury in a warm-up session, which forced him out of the entire 2016 season.

He made what was described as a “legendary” return in 2017, winning the season-opener on the Gold Coast.

He was sixth on the CT in 2017 and last year.

Christie won’t be overawed. Now a seasoned professional, he has already proved he can foot it among the best. And if he falls to Wright, the popular Kiwi will quickly shift focus.

However, if Christie does produce his best, Wright faces a titanic trans-tasman battle.

  • Ricardo Christie is to feature in a story on TVNZ current affairs programme Sunday this weekend. Sunday screens on TVNZ 1 from 7.30pm.
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