The Rip Curl Pro (formally the Bells Beach Surf Classic) is the longest running surf contest in the world, starting way back in 1961. The event turned pro in 1973 with Rip Curl claiming naming rights from day one.
The Rip Curl Pro is held every Easter, and is currently the years second event on the WSL calendar. Professional surfers flock to the famed Bells Beach with the aim of ringing surfings historic bell. Since going pro, the event has been frequented by the worlds biggest names including multiple wins from Michael Peterson, Mark Richards, Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia, Andy Irons and Mike Fanning.
Today, Torquay is transformed to a festival like atmosphere when the Rip Curl Pro rolls in to town. Set on a cliffs edge in the Bells Beach car park, the events HQ offers great spectating and entertainment during the day. The action then moves back into Torquay with live music and continuing celebrations at night.
An Absolute Heaven for Surfers
Located about five kilometres southwest of Torquay, Bells Beach comprises a high concentration of quality surfing spots from Winkipop on the outer to Southside and the famous Bowl. In winter big swells and cold off-shore winds display Bells at it’s best.
To get to Bells Beach, travel along the Great Ocean Road past Jan Juc until you reach Bells Boulevard. Turn left into Bells Boulevard and follow the signs.
Bowls is the jewel of Bells offering surfers a large wall to stick the rail into for some powerful turns. Bowls is best on a 4 - 10 ft swell with a north westerly breeze. Bowls is the closest break to the car park, offering viewers a good vantage point to watch all the action.
Recon sites outside of Bowls and works on a smaller 2 - 4 foot swell. On bigger days and with the right swell direction, it is possible to connect Recon to Bowls. It is these days that Bells grows its reputation around and is something on the bucket list of many surfers.
Not technically in Bells Beach, Southside offers a refreshing left on a coast dominated by right hand waves. Southside breaks on the reefs perimeter just south of the Bells Beach bluffs. Southside is best on a 3 - 5 ft swell.
Also not technically in Bells Beach, Winkipop is right next door, located on the other side of the rocks barricading Bell's eastern end. 'Winki' as its locally referred, is a speedy and often hollow right hander breaking up to 300m long. It is the preferred wave of many in the area, even when comparing to Bells itself. Winki is best at 5 to 10 ft with a northwesterly breeze.