Bells Beach: heaven on Earth

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is celebrating the 50th anniversary. The second stop of the 2011 ASP World Title season is about to kick off and the world’s best surfers are already gearing up for the contest.

From April 19th through 30th, the the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach will also hit the Australian water. "It's going to be a very exciting Easter at Bells Beach this April, with some special events planned to celebrate the amazing half-century anniversary of the Rip Curl Pro and the Bells Beach Easter Rally," Brooke Farris, Rip Curl International Event Manager, said.

"This year's event will really be a 'gathering of the tribe', with each of the world's best ASP surfers keen to etch their name in the history books by winning the anniversary Bell and most of our former competitors and past champions in Torquay to re-live many of the amazing moments and stories they created over the past 50 years."

The fifty years of the Australian surfing jewel will will be attended by the best surfers in the world and by surf industry execs. "Bells Beach not only holds a special place in the hearts of Australians but well within the global surfing community as a whole," Brodie Carr, ASP International CEO, said.

There's one man who will be trying to conquer a fifth title. Kelly Slater, 39, has claimed four prestigious Bells titles (’94, ’06, ’08, ’10) and with a win at the opening event of the season on the Gold Coast, will have his sights on defending his title at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2011.

"The Bells trophy is probably one of - if not the - most sought after trophies in professional surfing,” Slater said. “Anyone who has ever gotten a Bell has talked proudly of it. It’s like winning a World Title trophy."

Mick Fanning, 29, former two-time ASP World Champion (’07, ’09), posted his first elite tour victory as a wildcard at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2001. "Fifty years at Bells is huge,” Fanning said. “It has so much history, from the first days with MP to MR to up until now. So many great surfers have won the Rip Curl Pro because it's one of the hardest ones to win."