Perfect 10 propels Conlogue to Bells title
THE moment she nailed it, Courtney Conlogue knew it was a 10.
The first perfect wave score on the women's or men's world surfing tours this season gave Conlogue the lead in her Bells Beach final.
She went on to win her third Rip Curl Pro title, beating Hawaiian giant-killer Malia Manuel.
"Yes, right when I finished the wave, it felt right," Conlogue said.
"You don't always know, but you feel it."
It is only the second perfect 10 wave score of Conlogue's career.
"Right when I dropped in, I thought 'wow, this canvas is just so beautiful' and it was a classic Bells bowl wave," she said.
"It was definitely a thrill. It was definitely a crazy way to win a bell."
It was also a far cry from this time last year when Conlogue was at Bells Beach with her foot in a moon boot.
While she recovered from the injury to win two events late in the season, Conlogue lost her sponsor.
"You always grow from it," she said.
"The injury was definitely a curve, and it's new beginnings, is the way I look at it.
"I'm excited with what's to come.
"What's amazing is the World Surf League has given us equal pay, so it really facilitates us to get the results. Either way, I know I will be doing just fine."
Conlogue, also winning the 2016-17 Bells Beach titles, is third on this year's rankings.
It was Manuel's first Bells Beach final after she upset Australian defending champion Stephanie Gilmore in the quarter-finals.
She also dispatched world No.1 Caroline Marks in the semis.
Conlogue's semi-final opponent, compatriot Lakey Peterson, was troubled by a back injury that flared on Friday night.
Peterson was in agony during their heat, at times grabbing her lower back, and needed help as she limped up the Bells Beach stairs afterwards.