All eyes on Bells Beach Pro
ALL eyes in the surfing world turn to Bells Beach, Victoria as the 50th anniversary of the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro kicks off on Tuesday (April 19) at one of the world’s few surfing reserves.
And Hanging Ten will have its own correspondent at Bells, with Agnes surf shop owner and Central Queensland surfing legend Wayne “Grom” Mellick reporting in with what’s happening in the second stop on the men’s and women’s pro world tours.
Bells is the longest-running pro contest in the world with a who’s who of surfing royalty adorning the winners list of the famous contest.
The wild, untouched surfing reserve, the tradition and the iconic Bells trophy make it a special place and a special event – make that a surfing celebration.
Reigning men’s champ Kelly Slater is going for a record fifth bell in the famous bowl; Mark Richards (MR) has four including three in a row back in the late 70s early 80s.
But perhaps the most dominant surfer at Bells ever was Queenslander Michael Peterson (MP).
MP won three in a row (1973-1975) and was untouchable during this period despite battling mental illness and drug addiction.
All the above are naturals (left foot forward), and in fact only five goofys (right foot forward) have ever won at Bells, with Occy (Mark Occhilupo) the last in 1998.
So while Damien Hopgood (US), a goofy, comes in with form after taking out the contest just completed at Margaret River, he will be up against it with so many hot naturals in the hunt to ring that bell.
Another Queenslander, Steph Gilmore, is fired-up to get back her No.1 ranking in the women.
DISCOVERY Coast surfer Tony “T-Bone” Bonney came up trumps last weekend at the Yeppoon Festival of Surfing taking out the Open Men’s Longboard title after a few near misses recently.
Bonney finished runner-up in the Reef2Beach Open 8s and then fourth in a couple of divisions of the Bradnam’s Surfing Festival, both at his home break of Agnes Water last month.
But Bonney was on his game at Farnborough Beach in highly contestable chest-high waves.