In 1996 Chris Davidson beat Kelly Slater at Bells twice in one contest. It was his coming out party competitively. He’s shown signs of that throughout this event and is surfing as good as ever. Our favorite surfer in the event right now. PHOTO: Sherman

In 1996 Chris Davidson beat Kelly Slater at Bells twice in one contest. It was his coming out party competitively, and he’s shown signs of that same ability this year, surfing as well as ever. Our favorite surfer in the event right now. PHOTO: Sherman

Matt Wilkinson’s run fell to the hands of a very in form CJ Hobgood. His bakchand however is still one we can’t get enough of. Even on the big faces of bells he managed to jam the lip and get the tail out. PHOTO: Sherman

Matt Wilkinson’s run ended at the hands of a very in form CJ Hobgood. His backhand, however, is still one we can’t get enough of. Even on the big faces of Bells he managed to jam the lip and get the tail out. PHOTO: Sherman

Easter is the equivelant to spring break in cancun for Australians. They swarm the coast and go wild. This weekend is shaping up to be packed. PHOTO: Sherman

Easter at Bells is the equivalent to spring break in Cancun for Australians. They swarm the coast and go wild. This weekend is shaping up to be packed. PHOTO: Sherman

Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, Occy, Joel Parkinson, and in the back row, Damien Hardman and Mark Richards. PHOTO: Sherman

Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, Occy, Joel Parkinson, and in the back row, Damien Hardman and Mark Richards. PHOTO: Sherman

Taj Burrow and Oleema Miller at the Ball. PHOTO: Sherman

Taj Burrow and Oleema Miller at the Ball. PHOTO: Sherman

Kelly Slater and Kalani Miller. PHOTO: Sherman

Kelly Slater and Kalani Miller. PHOTO: Sherman

Martin Potter, one of the most radical Bells performers of all time. PHOTO: Sherman

Martin Potter, one of the most radical Bells performers of all time. PHOTO: Sherman

Bethany Hamilton and Alana Blanchard came out to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the contest. PHOTO: Sherman

Bethany Hamilton and Alana Blanchard came out to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the contest. PHOTO: Sherman

Oleema Miller, Laura Enever, Kalani Miller and Alana Blanchard. This squad can dance. PHOTO: Sherman

Oleema Miller, Laura Enever, Kalani Miller and Alana Blanchard. This squad can dance. PHOTO: Sherman

Celebrating 50 Years at Bells with a Ball (and Round 3)

It was a “surf formal” affair. There were small portions of scallops and never ending glasses of wine. And some of the most incredible surfers and competitors in the world. Mick Fanning kicked off the night with a speech that would have made Obama proud. The man can hold an audience. Then Nat Young #1 followed with some incredible memories of the storied Bells Beach point. After that, a montage chronicling contest history from the first man to ring a Bell in 1962, Glynn Ritchie, through all the epic battles that have gone down since. There was a massive photo op and then enough dancing to rattle even the most focused of competitors. Laura Enever did a Rihanna song onstage and just then, at midnight, Easter weekend and the 50th anniversary of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Easter Rally was officially kicked off. Congrats to all the winners (and dancers), past and present.