It’s been close to three years since the world’s best surfers descended on Bells Beach for the longest running event in competitive surfing, so excitement levels are high for the return of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The event action kicks off on Sunday 10 April, coinciding with the start of the school holidays, and features an impressive line-up including Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore, John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Morgan Cibilic, Sally Fitzgibbons and our very own India Robinson. It runs until 20 April.
Council is holding a Traditional Welcome to Country event, which includes a smoking ceremony by Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles at 9.30am on Friday 8 April. The event will be followed by the presentation of Council’s Gail Couper and Wayne Lynch Rising Star Awards, which celebrate young, local up-and-coming surfers.
Tickets for the Rip Curl Pro will be on sale at the gate, but are free for all 3228 residents, you just need to show your driver’s licence or proof of address. Proof of COVID vaccination is required for entry to the event.
To help people get around, there will be free shuttle buses over the Easter long weekend running every hour, which will take passengers to and from the event and sites around Torquay and Jan Juc.
Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton said there was a real buzz around the coast in the lead up to the 59th Rip Curl Pro.
“Bells Beach is the spiritual home of surfing in Australia, so we’re pleased that this much-loved WSL event is back in its rightful home. It is one of only two Australian events on the WSL championship tour – and Bells will actually open the Australian leg of the tour for the first time in over 20 years.”
“COVID certainly wreaked havoc on major events, so after two missed Rip Curl Pros, excitement levels are at an all-time high and we’re expecting to see big numbers this year.”
“Our local businesses are getting ready for a busy couple of weeks, and many will be livestreaming the event, so you can go out for a bite to eat or a drink with friends and not miss the event action.”
Event set up is underway now at Bells Beach, and while it may look slightly different to other years, it will be contained within the same site footprint. There will be changed road traffic conditions within the area that will come into effect from 8 to 20 April. During the event period, entry into Bells Beach Reserve will be restricted to event attendees from 7am to 5pm daily.
The Rip Curl Pro coincides with a special exhibition at the Australian National Surfing Museum called ‘Simon’s Bells’. Featuring champion surfer Simon Anderson, the exhibition tells the story of a remarkable day in surfing, big waves at Bells Beach and a borrowed board that would change the surfing world forever.
The museum also features the Surfing Hall of Fame and the Waves and Wheels exhibition, celebrating the relationship between surfers and their cars from the 1950s to the 1980s. It’s open 9am to 5pm daily in the Surf City precinct, Torquay.
Find out more about the event and all the local business event activations here.
When travelling to Bells Beach, please slow down and take care on the road to help protect local wildlife.