After a sensational season opener here on the Gold Coast, The world best have descended on Bells = ahead of the 58th Annual Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The Bells Beach event is the longest running surfing event on the planet, dating back to the Bells Beach Easter Classic in 1973.
Bells Beach is a sacred place to Indigenous Australians, with the Wathaurong People considering it one of their “Songlines” (or Dreaming Tracks). This sentiment has seeped into the surfing world and Bells has long been considered a holy site in surfing – the annual Easter pilgrimage to Bells Beach has been labelled “the Gathering of the Tribe”.
Defending Event Winners Gilmore and Ferreira Ready for Bells Beach, Stop No. 2 on the WSL CT
Last season Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) started her campaign to clinch a seventh World Title with a win at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Having won the event four times in her career, Gilmore’s success at Bells goes unbeaten by the current CT competitors and is only matched by 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (AUS). After starting the season on the Gold Coast with an Equal 5th place finish, Gilmore will be hoping to take back-to-back wins at Bells in her quest to win a record eighth World Title in 2019.
“I started last year with an equal 5th and then came to Bells, won the event and went on to win the Title, so I’m not too worried about last week’s result,” Gilmore said. “It is great to be back here at Bells Beach. It’s a place I’ve been coming to and competing at since I was 15 years old, so it really does feel like a second home for me and the wave itself suits how I love to surf. Ringing the Bell is a true honor and I’d love to do it for the fifth time.”
After a few years of epic performances and establishing himself on the WSL CT, Italo Ferreira (BRA) finally took his breakthrough victory at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2018 where he overcame surfing icon Mick Fanning in a historic Final. Ferreira continued his winning streak into two more event wins in 2018 (Bali and Portugal) and then into the opening event of the 2019 season on the Gold Coast. The electric young Brasilian comes into the second stop leading the Jeep Rankings and positioned well for a tilt at his maiden World Title.
“The Bells Final last year was such a special moment in my career,” Ferreira said. “To share the water with Mick (Fanning) in his last heat was surreal, so this is definitely a very special place for me. To have my name on the winner’s list with all of the legends of our sport is an honor for me. There is so much energy on the beach and in the air with all of the fans, which is really cool. To win the event again is going to be so difficult because the level on Tour is getting higher and higher every event – I’ll be trying my hardest to get the win though.”