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.
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 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 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
Bethany Hamilton and Alana Blanchard came out to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the contest. PHOTO: Sherman
Bells isn’t the world’s most playful wave. You must be serious about wanting to throw spray. Kelly Slater demonstrated this in his Round 3 heat against Stuart Kennedy and created his own rain squall. PHOTO: Sherman