Bells Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches.
The beach gained its international fame as the location of the annual Rip Curl Pro event. The event is nearly sixty years old and the longest running event of the World Surf League World Championship Tour. The events iconic bell trophy is one of the most sought-after surfing titles in the world.
The Rip Curl Pro competition is the second international surfing competition of the year and coincides with Easter annually.
Getting to the beach
When the beach was first recognised as a surfing beach, access to the beach proved to be a difficult task. Typical boards were up to 5m long at the time and surfers needed to drag the heavy boards 45 minutes through the bush to get to the beach.
As shorter boards became more popular it became easier for surfers to make their way to the beach, however it was still inconvenient to say the least.
After years of surfers tracking through a local’s land, and agreement was made to create a road to access the beach. However, tension ensued when surfers neglected to close farm gates. Eventually a local hired a bulldozer and cleared a route to the beach. In order to recover his expenses, he began to charge a pound per surfer using the track.
Today, this road is part of the Torquay to Anglesea walking track.
Pro surf history
Though the first Bells Beach Surf Classic was held in 1962 and the event turned pro in 1973. Rip Curl have held the naming rights since day one, adding to the nostalgic feels the event is well known for.
The first competition was held on Australia Day but was changed to Easter the following year. The change in date allowed surfers from across the country to make the trip to Bells Beach for the competition. It is officially the longest running surfing competition in not only Australia but the world.
The competition is so well known and the surfing opportunities so spectacular the beach became the first surfing reserve in the world. Since its conception the competition has grown in significance and is a well-loved event in the international surfing calendar.
Visiting Bells Beach
Bells Beach itself is a rather small beach and is surrounded by steep cliffs. Generally speaking, most people head to the beach specifically to surf. The beach itself is rather small and the swell reaches great heights.
The surf here is not suited for beginners and its recommended that only experienced surfers head into the sea. There are however some great fishing opportunities if you’re a keen fisher.
We recommend heading onto the lookout along the stairs. You’ll get some amazing views of the beach below, without risking your life!
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