Bells surfing starts but Fanning on hold

The start of Mick Fanning's competition farewell to Bells Beach must wait another day.

Mick Fanning's farewell surf event, the Rip Curl Pro, has started at Winkipop, next to Bells Beach.

Mick Fanning's farewell surf event, the Rip Curl Pro, has started at Winkipop, next to Bells Beach.

The Australian surfing great is the star attraction at the Rip Curl Pro this year and his heat is the last of 12 in the men's opening round.

Nine of the men's first-round heats were run on Good Friday following the opening round of the women's event.

Fanning, the three-time world champion and four-time Bells Beach champion, will end his professional career at the Rip Curl Pro.

The 36-year-old had his first major professional win at Bells in 2001 as a wildcard teenager.

While Fanning had to cool his heels, several other big names progressed to the third round with their round-one heat wins at the Winkipop break, next to Bells Beach.

But Australian stars and Bells Beach champions Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons were relegated to the sudden-death second round.

Australian two-time defending world champion Tyler Wright won her opening heat, as did Hawaiian star Carissa Moore.

American Lakey Peterson, who won the opening world tour event on the Gold Coast this month, also is through to round three.

Two-time defending Rip Curl Pro champion Courtney Conlogue remains sidelined with a foot injury.

The men's winners so far include Hawaiian world champion John John Florence, defending Bells Beach champion Jordy Smith from South Africa and top Australians Owen Wright, Julian Wilson and Matt Wilkinson.

The forecast is for a solid southwest swell to peak on Saturday and favourable wind conditions in the morning.

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