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.
There are several breaks in the Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve, including The Bowl, Outside Bells, Rincon, Centreside, Southside, and Winkipop. Outside Bells is the main break and produces a long, fast, even wall when it gets above six foot. The Bowl is the steep final section of the wave, and just east of The Bowl. Winkipop runs over a stretch of reef producing a quick, hollow wave that often surpasses conditions at Bells proper.
The Rip Curl Pro is the second event on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) World Tour. The event holds a very special place in surfing folklore, as the longest running world championship level contest on the World Tour.
In 2019, the Rip Curl Pro is celebrating 58 years and the world’s best male and female surfers are in town to compete for professional surfing’s most treasured trophy – the Rip Curl Pro Bell.
The primary location is Bells Beach, Victoria about a 70-minute drive from Melbourne. The Rip Curl Pro is a mobile event, with back up venues of Winki Pop (Immediately adjacent to Bells) and Johanna (160km from Bells Beach along the Great Ocean Road) in case surf conditions are not favourable at Bells.
Bells Beach is in Wadawurrung country. Bells Beach has been visited by the Wadawurrung people for thousands of years and their connection with the reserve continues to this day.
This short video explores the cultural heritage of the Bells Beach Surfing Recreational Reserve. The video features Corrina Eccles discussing the Wadawurrung history of Bells Beach, and Anthony Hume playing didgeridoo.