MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia (Friday, February 12, 2021) – The World Surf League (WSL) today announced that the Championship Tour (CT) will return to Bells Beach in 2022 and beyond thanks to the new three-year deal that was signed between the WSL and its longtime partners, Rip Curl and the Victorian Government. The deal secures this iconic event into the future and ensures that any WSL World Title hopeful will need to navigate the notorious Bells bowl if they have any chance at becoming a World Champion and that the coveted Bell will be rung for many Easters to come.
The WSL made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach CT event for 2021. The decision was made after the WSL was unable to secure a pre-approved bubble in Victoria ahead of the event, leaving significant risk attached to sudden public health measures in reaction to COVID-19 such as lockdowns, state border restrictions, and event cancellations. The WSL respects and understands the decision of the Victorian Government in this challenging time.
The WSL sincerely thanks the Victorian Government and the local community for their understanding of the 2021 event cancellation and their commitment to the next three years of supporting one of surfing’s most special events. We look forward to returning to Victoria, and in particular, the Surf Coast Shire, in 2022.
“It was an extremely difficult decision to cancel one of the most iconic events on the Championship Tour,” said WSL Asia Pacific General Manager, Andrew Stark. “However, we are genuinely excited to confirm the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event into the future with a new three-year agreement that will ensure the continuation of one of surfing’s most historical events. We genuinely thank the Victorian Government and our key partners, including Rip Curl and the Surf Coast Shire, for their understanding throughout this incredibly challenging time and we look forward to working with them in the future to ensure the Bell is rung annually.”
“The Rip Curl Pro is known around the world and loved at home – and it’s great that it will be returning to Bells Beach in 2022 and for at least two more years after that,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakua. “Bells at Easter is a pillar of our major events calendar and one of the reasons it’s the best in the country.”
Rip Curl, a brand that was ‘Born at Bells,’ is looking forward to welcoming the world’s best back in 2022 and partnering with the WSL to make the event bigger and better than ever upon its return.
“We were really excited about welcoming the world’s best surfers back to the Rip Curl Pro this Easter,” said Chief Brand and Marketing officer, Neil Ridgway. “Tyler Wright is leading the women’s rankings and Gabe Medina is second so it was all set to be a doozy for us 40 years after the Big Bells Swell of Easter 1981. Unfortunately, the WSL had to cancel the 2021 event due to the risk of a sudden change in COVID-19 restrictions. While we are completely gutted for all of the local fans and businesses, keeping the Surf Coast Shire and wider Victoria COVID-19 free is the top priority. The Rip Curl Pro will be back at Bells next Easter as per our contract with WSL and we guarantee the party will be epic. In the meantime, The Bell stays here in Torquay where it rightfully belongs and we are stoked the World Tour is up and running again. Congrats to the WSL for getting the Tour back up and running in this challenging time for world sport.”
“As the spiritual home of Australian surfing, Bells Beach, is an iconic leg of the World Tour and the winner’s honour roll reads like a who’s who of world surfing,” said Cr Libby Stapleton, Mayor Surf Coast Shire Council. “The Surf Coast community values the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach very much – it is an integral part of our identity and economy. The event attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the area, and for many, it is an annual pilgrimage.”
“Surfing Victoria are ecstatic to hear the future of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is secure,” said Surfing Victoria CEO and former Bells event runner-up, Adam Robertson. “We understand the prestige that this event holds and we’re excited to continue working with our partners at the WSL, Rip Curl, Visit Victoria and the Surf Coast Shire to bring the Rip Curl Pro back to Bells Beach for the foreseeable future.”
The World Surf League is working closely with Australia’s State Governments and continues to have conversations regarding the locations for the upcoming Australian leg of the CT. We are currently discussing multiple options to be best prepared to get the CT back on and running. We will share more information in the coming week.
All tour stops and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions.