Cole Houshmand: the first Californian male to win Bells Beach since Richie Collins in 1992 | Photo: WSL

Cole Houshmand and Caitlin Simmers have claimed the 2024 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

The two first-time Bells winners were the ones to beat on finals day as the Bowl dished up semi-clean surf in the three-to-four-foot range.

It was a historical day of competition, with a number of firsts taking place on the 61st finals day at Bells and the 50th with Rip Curl as the title partner. 

San Clemente locals and childhood friends Cole Houshmand and Griffin Colapinto came into the final of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, guaranteed to make history.

With either of them winning, they'd be the first Californian male to hoist the Bell since Richie Collins in 1992, and with the form they displayed, it was either surfer that could take it.

Houshmand started strong, posting a 7.00 (out of a possible 10) point ride on his opener and finally backing it up with a 6.50 for a 13.50 (out of a possible 20) two-wave total.

Colapinto, who was the form surfer of the event, struggled to get going until the last few minutes of the match-up, and although he started to build, it wasn't enough to overcome Houshmand.

Houshmand got the win, becoming only the seventh goofy-footer to win the event in 61 years, joining names like Occhilupo, Carrol, Hardman, Lynch, Wilkinson and Ferreira. 

"I'm speechless, and this is unreal," said Houshmand.

"I honestly don't think it's gonna sink in for a while. I've been visualizing this every day for the last two weeks, ringing that Bell, and I guess it works."

"I'm excited for the whole year. My biggest goal was to make it to Fiji as a Rookie, and now I have my sights set on a bigger goal.

"The Cut is out of my vision, and there are bigger things for me to achieve now. The year really starts now."

"I told Griffin, 'This is what we've dreamed of since we were kids competing,' and I really wanted to enjoy it."

"It's not often you get a Final with your best friend and mentor, but then again, there's no one I want to beat more and no one I'd rather lose to. This is probably the best day of my life."

Houshmand came into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach sitting below the Mid-season Cut Line with an equal ninth as his best result in his rookie season.

His maiden CT victory has rocketed him 18 spots up to eighth on the rankings within aim of the WSL Final 5 heading into the second half of the season.

Caitlin Simmers: the youngest woman to ever win at Bells Beach | Photo: WSL

Women's Final

Coming into the Final sitting in first and second on the rankings, whoever claimed the win between Caitlin Simmers and Johanne Defay would leave Bells Beach wearing the yellow Leader Jersey as world no. 1.

CT veteran Dafay came into the Final with the most momentum, and it showed as she took control early.

With two mid-range scores, Defay held the lead for almost the entire Final.

With just three minutes remaining, Simmers took a set wave with priority, scoring a 6.10 to get herself back into contention.

With less than one minute remaining, Simmers forced Defay into a closeout, leaving Simmers out the back with sets rolling in.

Taking her last chance with seconds remaining, Simmers put together a range of critical maneuvers to score a 6.67, receiving the last-minute news that she had won her maiden Bell on the sand after the buzzer. 

"I was just thinking on my last wave, 'This could be it,'" said Simmers.

"In this sport, you always have to believe in yourself because that stuff happens. I still don't believe it, and it doesn't feel real."

"At this high of a level, you have to figure out ways to have an edge. There's so much for me to think about, and it feels amazing to get the win."

"This wave is really difficult to work out, so it feels awesome. Yeah, wow, No. 1 in the world sounds great."

Simmers made history today, becoming the youngest woman to ever win at Bells.

Caitlin took out her maiden final at Bells Beach and her second Final of the year after winning stop no. 1 at Pipeline.

Simmers rings the Bell as world no. 1 and wears the yellow Leader Jersey heading into the Western Australia Margaret River Pro.

2024 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach | Finals

Men

  1. Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.50 
  2. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.80

Women

  1. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 12.77
  2. Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.60

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