On April 19 the fun begins at one of Australia's premier surf locations, Bells Beach on the southern Victorian coast. For 11 days the gods and goddesses of this adrenaline pumping sport will congregate in the small surfing town of Torquay to battle it out for the 50th Rip Curl Pro.
Even if you're a city slicker who knows nothing about the fantastic sport of surfing you really must get down to see the event at least once in your life. You can't help but get swept up in the atmosphere as crowds line the cliff tops at Bells Beach, listening to surf slang being spat out over the P.A. system by the enthusiastic announcers and watching as elite athletes run right past you down to the ocean, their own unpredictable arena.
The 34 best male surfers on the ASP World Tour will make the trek to Bells this year, along with one Rip Curl Wildcard and one local Victorian Wildcard. They will be competing for $425,000 in prize money.
As well as the men's event, the top surfers from the ASP Women's World Tour will be there, as will the worlds best 16-year-old surfers competing in the final of the Rip Curl GromSearch Series.
The event runs from April 19 until April 30, but depending on the surf conditions, will not necessarily be held every day. The organizers do have the option of postponing the event in the hope of bigger and better swell, or being a 'mobile' event, simply moving it to another beach with better conditions. In the past the event has moved to beaches such as 13th in Barwon Heads, Fairhaven and even as far west as Johanna. Due to this, day passes can only be purchased from the ticket office on the day. Events are held between 7am and 5pm, again, depending on the conditions.