Ellie Harrison shines in Rip Curl Pro debut

April 6, 2024 BY

Ellie Harrison speaking to media following her Opening Round heat win. Photos: ED SLOANE/WSL

BARWON Heads local Ellie Harrison has put herself on the surfing map following her World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour event debut at this year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

The 18-year-old Torquay Boardrider turned heads throughout her run at the Pro, navigating a tricky opening round and eliminating a powerhouse in quick succession.

Harrison (10.74) picked up a narrow heat win first up, edging out Isabella Nichols (10.27) and world number one Molly Picklum (9.33).

“I’m normally here just watching, being a ‘grom’, getting everyone’s signatures,” Harrison said following the Opening Round.

“Now I’m in the event, everything is so much more, I don’t know, just crazy.

“I’m definitely feeling it – high adrenaline.”

A day later, Harrison backed up her terrific form by knocking out two-time defending Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach champion Tyler Wright at neighbouring beach Winkipop in smaller swell.


Ellie Harrison in the Round of 16.


Harrison completed four less runs than her Australian compatriot but made her way to the Quarterfinals with scores of 7.33 and 6.40, defeating Wright 13.73 to 12.74 and sending the beach into a frenzy.

“When I saw Tyler was in my heat, I was like oh no, I was scared to go up against someone with World Titles, but I look up to Tyler so much,” Harrison said after her Round of 16 win.

“She’s my idol, she’s always giving me compliments during free surfs, she’s just the nicest person ever.

“It was a tricky heat, we kind of were out of rhythm with the sets, but yeah I don’t even know what to say.”

Harrison’s dream run would sadly fall short at the Quarterfinal stage, going down to French surfer Johanne Defay.


Tyler Wright (left) about to congratulate Ellie Harrison following their Round of 16 heat.


Defay proved to have just a bit more class, accumulating a 12.13 total with waves of 6.50 and 5.63.

Harrison, however, secured the best wave of the matchup, with a 6.93 to open the heat.

Harrison, a Wildcard entry at this year’s Rip Curl Pro, has the chance to join the CT full-time if she can perform well at this year’s WSL Challenger Series.

The 2024 Challenger Series begins at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast from April 27 to May 4.

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