The Rip Curl Pro is the longest-running surfing contest on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour, celebrating its 60th birthday in 2023. It’s also regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious surfing competitions, attracting top male and female surfers from around the world to Bells Beach on the Victorian south-west coast.
The iconic event, held across Easter every year (excluding 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions), has become a fixture of the Victorian sporting calendar. Over several days, thousands of spectators line the beach and clifftops that form a natural amphitheatre around the mercurial Bells break and nearby Winkipop to catch the action.
As the fourth of 11 rounds of the World Surf League Championship Tour, and one of only two Australian stops, the Rip Curl Pro attracts a national and international audience of surfing fans, and is also televised around the world.
The event was first run in 1962, and has a prestigious honour roll including four-time winners Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater and Mark Richards in the men’s competition, and Stephanie Gilmore and Lisa Andersen on the women’s side. The winners each year triumphantly ring the bell that forms the centrepiece of the event’s unique trophy.
The Rip Curl Pro runs from April 4-14 in 2023, when defending champions Felipe Toledo (Brazil) and Tyler Wright (Australia) will attempt to once again master Bells' notoriously fickle right-hand break.