TIME FOR BELLS

FACTS AND FACTOIDS ABOUT THE RIP CURL BELLS BEACH EASTER CLASSIC

Mick Fanning will take a final bow at this year’s Bells event – his last before retiring.

Easter is coming, the bunnie’s getting fat. Pro surfers are all flocking to Bell’s Beach, what do you think of that?

1. THE CONTEST HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 56 YEARS

According to Matt Warshaw in The Encyclopedia of Surfing:

Local surfers Peter Troy and Vic Tantau, cofounders of the Bells Beach Boardriders Club, staged the inaugural Bells contest in January 1962, armed with a folding bridge table and a small box full of small, inexpensive trophies. “Peter and I put the word out that we would be holding a competition at Bells the first weekend the waves were nice and big,” Tantue later said. “Then we just set up a card table on the beach and judged the whole thing ourselves.”

It was a single-division, men’s-only contest, won by Sydney surfer Glynn Richie, with local George Smith awarded a special cash prize of one Australian pound for riding the day’s biggest wave. The Bells contest soon earned a reputation for providing bigger-than-average surf, with six to eight-foot waves common; the 1965 event was met with steel-blue 18-footers.

2. BELLS FAVORS REGULAR FOOTS (1962 – 2017):

These are the winners of the event, from 1962 to now:

1962: Glynn Richie
1963: Doug Andrew, Glynn Ritchie
1964: Mick Dooley, Gail Couper, Nat Young
1965: Robert Conneeley
1966: Nat Young, Gail Couper, Wayne Lynch
1967: Nat Young, Gail Couper, Wayne Lynch
1968: Ted Spencer, Gail Couper, Wayne Lynch
1969: Ted Spencer, Vivian Campbell, Wayne Lynch
1970: Nat Young, Gail Couper, Michael Peterson
1971: Paul Nielsen, Gail Couper, Simon Anderson
1972: Terry Fitzgerald, Gail Couper, Simon Anderson
1973: Michael Peterson
1974: Michael Peterson, Gail Couper
1975: Michael Peterson, Gail Couper
1976: Jeff Hakman, Gail Couper
1977: Simon Anderson, Margo Oberg
1978: Mark Richards, Margo Oberg
1979: Mark Richards, Lynne Boyer
1980: Mark Richards, Margo Oberg
1981: Simon Anderson, Linda Davoli
1982: Mark Richards, Debbie Beacham
1983: Joe Engel, Helen Lambert
1984: Cheyne Horan, Kim Mearig
1985: Tom Curren, Frieda Zamba
1986: Tom Carroll, Frieda Zamba
1987: Nick Wood, Jodie Cooper
1988: Damien Hardman, Kim Mearig
1989: Martin Potter, Wendy Botha
1990: Tom Curren, Lisa Andersen
1991: Barton Lynch, Pauline Menczer
1992: Richie Collins, Lisa Andersen
1993: Damien Hardman, Pauline Menczer
1994: Kelly Slater, Layne Beachley
1995: Sunny Garcia, Lisa Andersen
1996: Sunny Garcia, Pauline Menczer
1997: Matt Hoy, Lisa Andersen
1998: Mark Occhilupo, Layne Beachley
1999: Shane Dorian, Layne Beachley
2000: Sunny Garcia, Megan Abubo
2001: Mick Fanning, Neridah Falconer
2002: Andy Irons (no women’s event)
2003: Andy Irons (no women’s event)
2004: Joel Parkinson (no women’s event)
2005: Trent Munro, Sofia Mulanovich
2006: Kelly Slater (no women’s event)
2007: Taj Burrow, Stephanie Gilmore
2008: Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore
2009: Joel Parkinson, Silvana Lima
2010: Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore
2011: Joel Parkinson, Sally Fitzgibbons
2012: Mick Fanning, Sally Fitzgibbons
2013: Adriano de Souza, Carissa Moore
2014: Mick Fanning, Carissa Moore
2015: Mick Fanning, Carissa Moore
2016: Matt Wilkinson, Courtney Conlogue
2017: Jordy Smith, Courtney Conlogue,

3. RIP CURL HAS SPONSORED IT SINCE 1973

The Bells Beach contest has always been connected with the Australian surf industrial complex located in nearby Torquay. In 1973, Torquay-based Rip Curl Wetsuits put up $2,500 in prize money, and has been the title sponsor ever since. In 1976, the Bells Beach contest was part of the debut world tour, with Hawaii’s Jeff Hakman winning the event – the first non-Australian to do so.

4. HELLS BELLS: THE 1981 CONTEST WAS EPIC, AND WORLD-CHANGING

Back before the days of spot-on surf predictions, when forecasters could tell a swell was coming the moment a leopard seal farted in the Antarctic, surfers didn’t know what was coming, and there could be surprises.

In 1981, the Roaring Forties threw a bit of a surprise packet at the Bells contest, rumbling 12 to 18-foot surf at the best surfers in the world – most of whom were horribly undergunned and did their best to handle giant surf on bad equipment.

Simon Anderson had good equipment, however. The 1981 Bells event marked one of the debuts of Simon Anderson’s three-finned Thruster surfboard – which handled the giant surf nicely nicely – and changed the world of surfing forever.

5. CURREN VS OCCY: THE 1986 SEMIFINAL

The long, ripplable rights of Bells Beach have been a visible battleground going back to the 1960s, and there have been epic battles. But Tom Curren vs Mark Occhiluppo in the 1986 semifinal is considered one of th best.


Last year, Bells was one of the year’s big events.

6. THIS IS IT FOR MICK: 2018

Mick Fanning is retiring from pro surfing, which means this will be the final regular, non-wildcard appearance for the four-time Bell-ringing champion: 2001, 2012, 2014, 2015.

According to Nick Carroll, it will be emotional:

Could not have picked a better place to step away. At Bells Beach, Mick Fanning is the most beloved surfer in human history, and this year, it’s all gonna come out. People will weep in his presence. They will prostrate themselves before him, and clutch at the hem of his FlashBomb. (And that’s just Wilko and Owen!) I don’t believe in the circumstances that Mick will pull off some magnificent win — a retiring pro surfer often feels quite weird about the situation, and doesn’t really want to knock out potential title challengers. But in a funny sort of way I think he’s doing the men’s tour a favor. The roster has been out of balance now for a couple of years, caught between the gnarly 30-plus brigade and a brilliant younger crew, only some of whom have found a solid place in the CT. Mick may only be one person, but the symbolism of his retirement is bigger than that, it opens up a lot of air.

7. WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, DRAW: 2018

Time: March 28-April 8, 2018; Bells is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 19 hours ahead of PST.

See it: http://www.worldsurfleague.com/posts/314357/its-on-day-one-of-the-rip-curl-pro-bells-beach

Draw:
Men’s Round 1
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo, Griffin Colapinto, Michael February
Heat 2: Owen Wright, Conner Coffin, Ezekiel Lau
Heat 3: Jordy Smith, Caio Ibelli, Pat Gudauskas

Heat 4: Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Ian Gouveia
Heat 5: John John Florence, Tomas Hermes, TBA
Heat 6: Julian Wilson, Joan Duru, TBA
Heat 7: Adriano De Souza, Michel Bourez, Keanu Asing
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson, Jeremy Flores, Yago Dora
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino, Frederico Morais, Willian Cardoso
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan, Connor O’Leary, Michael Rodrigues
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson, Kanoa Igarashi, Wade Carmichael
Heat 12: Mick Fanning, Sebastian Zietz, Jesse Mendes

Women’s Round 1
Heat 1: Carissa Moore, Sage Erickson, Bronte Macauley
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore, Keely Andrew, Coco Ho
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons, Silvana Lima, TBA
Heat 4: Tyler Wright, Malia Manuel, Paige Hareb
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Macy Callaghan
Heat 6: Nikki Van Dijk, Johanne Defay, Caroline Marks

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