Australian pro surfer Ethan Ewing will hope his recent challenger form continues as he eyes his maiden World Surf League win at the historic Bells Beach Pro.
Three events into this year’s World Surf Championship Tour, Ewing is the highest-ranked male Australian after a third-place finish at the Sunset Beach Pro in Hawaii.
With a boost of confidence from the podium, the North Stradbroke Island local thinks he has what it takes to ring the iconic bell at the end of the competition.
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“The place where I got third place is a wave similar to Bells,” Ewing said. Vast world of sports.
“I feel like it suits my surfing a lot, there’s a lot of power in the waves and it’s a bit raw and rugged. I feel like it’s going to set me up well.
“I don’t have too much experience at Bells, I only surfed one event there in 2017 – my first year on tour – but I feel like I’m learning the wave, it’s a tricky wave but I enjoyed learning.”
At just 18, Ewing quickly qualified for the international tour, becoming the youngest Australian surfer to compete for the world title in 20 years.
Now 23 and with five years of touring experience, Ewing admits he finally feels settled after growing up in the competitive lifestyle.
“In my early years on tour, I didn’t feel like I was exactly ready,” he said.
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“But now I’ve found my bearings and I feel a lot more comfortable in my surfing and who I am.
“I’m a lot better prepared and I really believe I can beat the top guys and be at that top end of the tour.
“This year in particular, I felt really confident in my surfing and it was just a few little mistakes in my runs that cost me dearly. I could have done a lot better if I hadn’t made those mistakes.
“This year feels like the first year I’ve lived up to my potential.”
As the event enters its 59th edition this year, taming Bells’ explosive right-hand break has been attempted by many legendary surfers and is steeped in tradition.
“It’s the longest running professional surfing event in the world. Plus all my favorite surfers have won the event – Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater – they’ve all won it multiple times, so it’s really important.” says Ewing.
“It’s also a really tough wave to ride, it’s open to a lot of swell and it’s definitely not a perfect wave, so it’s really tricky.”
In addition to her Bells Beach connection, Ewing’s late mother, Helen Ewing, is a former winner there.
“Mom won (‘Bell’ from the Bells Beach Pro) in 1983, so long before I was born, but she was an incredible surfer,” he said.
“She came from Queensland – it’s so different from here (on the south coast of Victoria) and then winning the Bells is a huge accomplishment.
“It adds to why I would like to do well here. It would be cool to honor him that way.
“One of the reasons I surf as much as I do now is because of my mom and dad teaching me.”
As the tour schedule begins to open up before him, Ewing aspires to finish the season in the top 10.
The Bells Beach Pro kicks off on Sunday and competition will continue through Wednesday, March 20.
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