Dates: April 11-21
Where: Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia. Can’t make it? Watch it live at www.aspworldtour.com
What: Bells Beach is comprised of several breaks, The Bowl, Outside Bells, Rincon, Centreside, Southside and Winkipop among them. Outside Bells is the main break that produces a long, fast, even wall when it gets above six foot. The Bowl is the steep final section of the wave, and just east of The Bowl, Winki runs over a reef producing a quick, hollow wave that often surpasses conditions at Bells proper.
Who: The men’s World Championship Tour (no women’s event this year).
History: The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the longest-running professional surfing contest in existence. The event has been run around Easter time each year since 1973.
Past Champs: Michael Peterson, Nicky Wood, Mark Richards, Simon Anderson, Martin Potter, Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Kelly Slater, Richie Collins, Damien Hardman, Mick Fanning, Shane Dorian, Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson, Trent Munro (2005) and more.
Betting Odds: Slater 3 to 1, Andy 3.25 to 1, Taj 9 to 1, Mick Fanning 11 to 1, Parko 11 to 1, Adriano De Souza 16 to 1, Bruce Irons 30 to 1, Bobby Martinez 33 to 1, Mark Occhilupo 50 to 1, Chris Ward 200 to 1.
TransWorld SURF Bet: Occy at 50 to1. The former world champ could keep his recent roll going at Bells–remember, “The Raging Bull has won here before.
The Goal: “Ringing a Bell or winning one at Bells rates right up there with childbirths and wedding days for the guys who get to do it–it’s one of surfing’s highest honors.
Watch Out For: Run up and down the stairway from the cliff to the sea a few times and you’re well on your way to buns o’ steel. And bring a jacket folks, it can get downright frigid.
TransWorld SURF Breakdown: Look for Mick Fanning to be fired up after losing to Pancho Sullivan at his home break, Snapper Rocks.
Rookies figure to have a rough go due to the ever-changing conditions at Bells, except Pancho, who through his Torquay, Victoria based Rip Curl sponsorship has surfed Bells in the past.
While Bobby Martinez may seem like a good bet, but be careful, Bells is nothing like the perfect walls of Snapper and Rincon and can be downright tricky–especially for the rookies.
Bells compliments the power surfers of the tour: Think Andy, Mick, Kelly, Parko, Taylor Knox and other big veterans of the WCT.
Good luck to all competitors!