Mental Illness has been blown out of the water today at Bells Beach with the 16th Annual Bolt Blowers Invitational taking place at the fabled beach on Wadawurrung Country.
Kicking off with a traditional welcome to country and smoking ceremony by Wadawurrung Traditional Elder Corrina Eccles, over 160 surfers from around the state gathered to raise awareness and money for Mental Health.
The Retro Surf Comp required all competitors to surf pre-1983 surf boards adding an extra challenging element to the event.
“I was blown away by the event” said Surfing Victoria CEO Adam Robertson. “All of us have had a friend or family member who has struggled with Mental Health at some point, to see the surf community come together like this is incredible to see”.
Reigning Event Champions Team Dragon featured Former Australian Champion Xavier Huxtable and were unstoppable in the final going on to become back to back champions.
They finished on a heat total of 39 points followed closely by the “Defending Champs” who finished on 35 points.
“We were stoked to arrive today and see how much swell was around!” said Dragon Team Capatain Tom Wright. “This event raises awareness for such important issues. We are proud to be involved and help shine a light on Mental Health.”
The best female surfer award went to Annike Krooglik with the best male surfer award going to Ean Droomer.
The Style Master Award went to longtime Bolt Blower Marty Hammer.
The Soul Award went to Fabi Aguilar.
Funds raised from the event will be donated to Aboriginal Mentoring Organisation Strong Brother Strong Sister and Mental Health research charity One-In-Five.
The funds donated to Strong Brother, Strong Sister will allow Aboriginal young people to access a positive Aboriginal Mentor once a fortnight to learn how to surf, understand water safety and surf development training, but most importantly to improve their health and wellbeing.
The funds donated to One in Five will be used to help fund medical research into mental health. One In Five supports leading Australian mental illness experts at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Monash Health.
Full results for the event can be found at www.liveheats.com/surfingvictoria
The Bolt Blowers Invitational is supported by Surf Coast Events, Rip Curl and Surfing Victoria.
Junior competitors from across Victoria are ready to compete in Round 1 of the Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles at Phillip Island this weekend.