Disgust as drama strikes at Bells Beach
BRAZILIAN surfer Italo Ferreira stormed out of Bells Beach after an interference call ended his Rip Curl Pro title defence.
In a morning of high drama, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater suffered an upset quarter-final loss to Australian Ryan Callinan. It is potentially Slater's last competition at Bells Beach.
Hawaiian John John Florence also won his headline quarter-final, downing reigning world champion Gabriel Medina of Brazil.
But the story of the quarters was Ferreira, who was trailing South African Jordy Smith in their heat.
Smith had priority when Ferreira crossed in front of him at the start of a wave. The judges then made an interference call against Ferreira, effectively knocking him out of the heat.
Ferreira went back to shore before the heat ended and was furious as he went into the surfers' ready room.
After several minutes, he walked briskly up the hill and out of the contest venue, still wearing his wetsuit and with a towel over his head.
"I feel for him, you know - no one wants to win like that or lose like that," Smith said.
Slater opened the morning's competition never quite looking settled and Callinan pounced, beating the surfing legend 12.67 to 5.67.
The 47-year-old was asked after the loss if that was his competition swansong at Bells Beach.
"Possibly. We'll see," Slater said. "I don't know - it was funny sitting out there, thinking it could be my last one. It was kind of sad."
The heat between Florence and Medina featured the last three world titles, with Florence winning in 2016-17 before last year's knee injury ruined his campaign.
Florence posted 8.87 and 8.00 waves scores to beat Medina 16.87 to 15.17.
The Hawaiian will face Smith in one semi-final and Callinan will surf against Brazilian Filipe Toledo in the other.
Toledo eliminated Australian Jacob Willcox, who won the trials event to gain entry, in their quarter-final.
The men's and women's titles will be decided on Saturday.