Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: the longest-running competition in the professional surfing | Photo: WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) announced the cancellation of the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia.

The professional surfing circuit revealed that it was "unable to secure a pre-approved bubble in Victoria ahead of the event."

WSL doesn't go into detail, but it's clear that COVID-19-related restrictions forced the cancellation of the legendary competition.

The event has been held since 1961 when George "Ming" Smith won the first edition of the Bells Beach Surf Classic.

In 2020, the threat of a global pandemic had already prevented it from getting underway.

"Unfortunately, we had to cancel the competition because keeping Surf Coast Shire and Victoria Covid-19-free is a top priority," explained Neil Ridgway, brand and marketing manager at Rip Curl.

Back in 2022

Nevertheless, the spiritual home of Australian surfing will return to the Championship Tour (CT) schedule. WSL, Rip Curl, and the state of Victoria have signed a three-year deal to run the show from 2022 onward.

"It was a difficult decision to cancel the event, but the new agreement will ensure that one of surfing's historical events will return and continue for many Easters to come," added Andrew Stark, manager of WSL Asia Pacific.

In 2021, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach celebrates its 60th anniversary. It is the longest-running competition in the elite of surfing.

WSL is planning to run three CT events in Australia in April 2021 - the Newcastle Pro, the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro, and the Corona Open Gold Coast.

However, Covid-19 and global travel restrictions may suddenly change and force additional date and tour stop changes.

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