Why You Should Go Surfing at Bells Beach

Phillip Island is best-known as a haven for wildlife, but there are plenty of other activities you can get stuck into both on the island and on the way to the island. Set in the charming town of Torquay, Bells Beach offers visitors the chance to hit the waves, whether they’re a beginner or pro surfer. You’ll find the beach just 80-minutes from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, where it unfolds in a display of rocky outcrops below the cliffs.

The beach is well-known as the surf capital of Australia, and you’ll often see pro surfers and amateurs getting to grips with the huge swells, particularly during the Rip Curl Pro. This international surfing championship takes place every year at Easter and brings together the best in the industry as they compete against each other for a range of prizes.

Bells Beach, VIC

The History of Torquay

The Victorian Coast has been a longstanding paradise of wildlife and ocean seaboards. Once aboriginal heaven, used for hunting the native animals and fishing the shallow shores. Once the Europeans came to Australia, Torquay remain practically untouched for some time. Being a picnic hot spot until a settlement began in the 1870s. a settlement started, with the newcomers settling by Spring Creek. The name Torquay didn’t come until 1892, named after the popular holiday resort town in Devonshire, England. Over time the town grew, with schools, churches, and shops all built to improve the local lifestyle. When travelling by car became a popular activity in the 1920s, Torquay’s tourism shot up with visitors spending a day or weekend at the beach.

The History of Bells Beach

Bells Beach and its surrounds were once the home to the local Aboriginal community; the Gulidjan people. They occupied the grasslands, coastal area, and lake regions of the expanse, living for thousands of years in peace. The community was hit hard by the European invasion, with the Gulidjan facing the invaders head-on. Leading to around 350 deaths of the locals as the Europeans built their new settlement.

In the 1840s, a European family by the name of Bell decided to settle in the region. They were the first family to ever take up a pastoral run in the district, with the beach named after John Cavert Bell, who was the first member of the first pastoral family. Due to its historic importance, the beach is now on the Victorian Heritage Register and sees thousands of visitors grace its shores every year.

However, it wasn’t until 1939 that Bells Beach became known as surfing Beach. With a handful of locals apart of the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club discovered this hidden wonder. Having to follow a dirt track, trek through the bushland, and finally reach the smooth sands of Bells Beach.

The History of Surfing on Bells Beach

Once the surfers discovered Bells Beach, it shot up like a rocket in popularity. It became a key activity on Bells Beach, ever since its 1939 discovery. But access was difficult back then, which continued to cause problems up until 1960 when Olympic wrestler Joe Sweeney cleared a road along the cliff that came right down onto the beach.

The entire project cost 32 pounds, with Sweeney charging surfers were charged one pound to use the route. Nowadays, this route makes up the Torquay to Anglesea walking track.

Why Surfing is at Bells Beach

Bells Beach is all about surfing. But Why? What makes the waves at this particular beach so perfect?

The reason behind Bells Beach’s legendary swells is its ocean floor. Providing a perfect contour to harness the big swells of the Southern Ocean. This leads to long waves rolling throughout the beach. Letting swimmers and surfers spread out for a range of epic wave sections. Starting from Rincon and finishing right int the Outside Bells into The Bowl. Some of the best waves offered here may look picture-perfect, but they can actually be extremely difficult to master, requiring power and precision.

Even if you’re not a surfer, you can watch pros get to grips with the waves amongst a friendly and laidback atmosphere that pervades the area. As well as surfing, there are other water-based activities you can get stuck if you want to try something a bit different.

More experienced surfers will enjoy the huge swells that come in from the Southern Ocean that is protected by the large cliffs surrounding the beach into, while beginners can splash around in the shallows and learn more about this exciting sport.

To enjoy the best waves, head to the beach between March and October.

The Surf Competitions set at Bells Beach

The following year after Sweeney’s man-made track was created, a competition was held at Bells Beach. Named the Bells Beach Easter Rally, which has now been an annual event since. Held along the long Easter weekend, bringing both locals and tourists from all over. By 1973 it was included in the World Surf Competitive Tour (WCT) and has even been dubbed the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Joe Sweeney was the first to create the iconic Bells trophy, which has been replicated ever since. Displaying a brass bell hanging from the mount, it is one of the greatest honours in the surf community to ring the competition trophy’s bell. There have only been 43 surfers to have won the Bells Beach Trophy, with 26 men and 20 women. With the majority of the winners being from Australia.

Whether you’re an avid surfer not, Bells Beach is well worth a visit to check out the views and soak up the lively atmosphere of one of the best surfing spots in the country. Come here for a simple walk on the nearby walking track or along the soft sand.

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