The stage has been set for the 60th anniversary of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, with competing surfers and the local community coming together to officially launch the event.
This morning (Monday, April 3), the Surf Coast Shire hosted the welcoming function alongside its Rising Stars Awards ceremony and with the world’s press and partners getting up close with the surfers at the press conference afterwards, setting up for an exciting 10 days when the tournament’s event window opens tomorrow (Tuesday, April 4).
Shire mayor Liz Pattison said it was a joy to have the world’s best professional surfers back at “the home of surfing in Australia.”
“It’s a pleasure to welcome everyone to Djarrak [the Wadawurrung name for Bells Beach], the coverage that the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach gives to the Surf Coast Shire and this amazing place is just so spectacular.
World Surf League general manager of Australia and Oceania Andrew Stark also expressed his gratitude to return to the hallowed break.
“It’s 60 years of celebrating the Rip Curl Pro… it’s quite the milestone and it’s great to be back at Bells Beach,” he said.
“Victoria has such iconic events like the Australian Open, the AFL Grand Final and others like the Melbourne Cup… we are very proud that the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is one of those very events.
“A massive thanks to all our partners and the Surf Coast Shire for helping us run an event in such a unique location.
“We wish all the best to the surfers and look forward to celebrating 60 years at Bells Beach.”
Heading into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach as women’s world number one, 20 year old Molly Picklum from the Central Coast in NSW said she was incredibly excited to be wearing the leader’s yellow jersey.
“It’s been very busy going so far… I’ve certainly been embracing it… having that number one next to your name brings a lot more noise, but it’s an opportunity that I am really grateful for.
Defending their crowns in 2023 will be Tyler Wright (women’s) and Filipe Toledo (men’s).
For more information, head to worldsurfleague.com
Read Surf Coast Times story here.
Willis Droomer is presented his Rising Star award by Australian Championship Tour surfer Callum Robson. Photo: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTSMEDIAIMAGES