June 2, 2022

Voting open for 50 Year Storm

The 50 Year Storm, in memory of local legend Shaun Brooks, is back at Bells Beach this winter and voting for the 2022 event has commenced.

Now that big wave season is upon us, the committee is asking people to vote for who they think deserves a guernsey in the prestigious event.

The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational will see a field of family, friends, local surfing royalty and big-wave chargers paddle out for a one-day, inspirational event at Bells to ride the biggest waves and remember their friend Shaun, a former World Junior and Victorian Open champion, who took his own life in 2012 after a long battle with mental illness.

The event’s purpose is to raise awareness around mental wellbeing and create a platform to assist with others in the community who require support.

Through generous donations from sponsors and fundraising, the event has raised over $45,000 for the beneficiaries One in Five and Headspace who do amazing work in the community.

According to event organiser and close friend of Shaun’s, Carlo Lowden, the name of the event is based off the tongue-in-cheek 90s classic movie Point Break, where Bohdi (Patrick Swayze) escapes an FBI man hunt to paddle out into massive waves created by the mythical 50-year storm at Bells Beach.

“The event is more than a big wave event, with the metaphor growing that everyone at one point in their life will experience a 50 year storm of some magnitude,” Lowden said.

“If you are struggling, we urge you to talk to your mates, reach out to your family and friends, or a professional.

“If you think someone close to you is having trouble, ask them the question, are you okay, and try it a few times as they never answer how they really feel the first few times.”

The number of surfers invited by the public voting system is capped at 30, with 25 spots voted on by the public.

The remaining five wildcards will be decided by the Brooks family and the 50 Year Storm committee, one of which will be allocated to the highest placed Victorian in the Australian Indigenous Titles which was Jordie Campbell.

The committee encourages all friends and family to get behind the surfers they think should be included.

The event window is between June 1 and August 31 and will run in the biggest and best conditions of the waiting period.

Event organisers hope to be more inclusive of surfers from around the state this year after COVID restrictions disallowed competitors from outside the 3228 postcode.

Vote via their instagram page www.instagram.com/bellsbeach50yearstorm.

A video about the 50 Year Storm can be viewed at:https://youtu.be/8uijrHHHgb8

Surf Coast Times story here.

Event information here.

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