Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach

Of Legends and Lore: The Bells Beach Event Guide

Official Event Site: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
Official Event Site: Rip Curl Women's Pro

EVENT WINDOW: March 24 to April 5, 2016
LOCATION: Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia
COORDINATES: 38° S, 144° E
BAGGAGE CLAIM: Melbourne Avalon Airport, Geelong (GEX)

Carissa Moore (HAW) following her third Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach victory. Carissa Moore this year's reigning World Champ and defending event champion for the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach. - WSL

Bells Beach has been hosting surfing tournaments for more than 50 years now, making it the most renowned spot on the raw and rugged southern coast of Victoria, Australia. The list of event champions is a veritable who's who of surfing icons, including many world champions.

Surfing's greats have a way of dominating Bells. Mark Richards, Kelly Slater, and Mick Fanning all have four Bells trophies; Michael Peterson and Sunny Garcia, three; While Simon Anderson, Tom Curren, Joel Parkinson, Andy Irons, and Damien Hardman each grabbed a pair.

The story is similar on the women's side. Lisa Andersen and Stephanie Gilmore have four Bells titles; Layne Beachley and Pauline Menczer, three; while Kim Mearig and Sally Fitzgibbons each have two.

. The wave itself is a wide open canvas of green, where surfers have been carving their signature moves into the hearts and minds of Torquay's rabid surf fans for decades.

One of the most seminal moments in Rip Curl Pro history came in 1981, when 15-foot monster sets came roaring through. One wave was even ridden from Rincon all the way to Winkipop -- and shaping pioneer Simon Anderson won his second Bells title on a three-fin board, ushering in the dominance of the Thruster. In 1985, Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo clashed in an epic semifinal battle that resulted in Curren winning his first world title. And in 1987, 16-year-old Nicky Wood won the event as wildcard. But the amount of legendary performances before and since is immeasurable.

If you're thinking of heading to Bells Beach for the Rip Curl Pro, here are some need-to-knows before heading down to Stop No. 3.

Bells Beach Break Graphic V2 The Bells Beach breakdown, from Rincon to Winkipop. - WSL

PRO TIPS: You'll need some wheels. Rent a car. Melbourne is about an hour away from Torquay, so if you want to be mobile once you land at Bells, you're going to need a whip. Also, bring your weather gear! It can be frigid, raining and after a long surf in the already cold water, you may find yourself looking for cover. It's a different world down in Torquay when it comes to weather and you need to pack for everything. While Bells is traditionally cold, it's been unseasonably hot as well. Pack for all seasons: By the time you leave you might feel like you've seen all.

ATTITUDE: Torquay is the birthplace of both Rip Curl Wetsuits and Quiksilver Clothing and you really can't get more core than that. Surf culture, and those who embrace have taken over this Down Under industry Mecca teeming with folklore.

THE WAVE: Bells Beach is comprised of several breaks: The Bowl, Outside Bells, Rincon, Centreside, Southside and Winkipop are key among them. The Bowl is the steep final section of the wave. Outside Bells is the main break that produces a long, fast, even wall when it gets above six foot. East of The Bowl, Winki runs over a reef producing a quick, hollow wave that often surpasses conditions at Bells proper.

APRES SURF: Bells is a pretty sleepy spot, but The Torquay Hotel, Rip Curl's Media Night and a house party or two heat things up when it's cold outside. Melbourne has a rich history and the Tour usually brings out the best of Victoria, including bands, art and shows.

Ultimate Glory
Highlights from the final day of the 2015 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

NOTABLE: Last season, Mick Fanning joined the short list of four-time Bells winners, tying 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater and Tom Curren. Gold Coast talent Joel Parkinson notched his third Bells victory in 2011. Carissa Moore successfully defends her event title at this year's event, she'll join an elite list of three-time winners consisting of Margo Oberg, Pauline Menczer, Lisa Andersen, Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore.

2015: Mick Fanning (AUS) 2014: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2013: Adriano de Souza (BRA)
2012: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2011: Joel Parkinson (AUS)
2010: Kelly Slater (USA)
2009: Joel Parkinson (AUS)
2008: Kelly Slater (USA)
2007: Taj Burrow (AUS)
2006: Kelly Slater (USA)
2005: Trent Munro (AUS)
2004: Joel Parkinson (AUS)
2003: Andy Irons (HAW)
2002: Andy Irons (HAW)
2001: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2000: Sunny Garcia (HAW)
1999: Shane Dorian (HAW)
1998: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
1997: Matt Hoy (AUS)
1996: Sunny Garcia (HAW)
1995: Sunny Garcia (HAW)
1994: Kelly Slater (USA)
1993: Damien Hardman (AUS)
1992: Richie Collins (USA)
1991: Barton Lynch (AUS)
1990: Tom Curren (USA)
1989: Martin Potter (GBR)
1988: Damien Hardman (AUS)
1987: Nick Wood (AUS)
1986: Tom Carroll (AUS)
1985: Tom Curren (AUS)
1984: Cheyne Horan (AUS)
1983: Joe Engel (AUS)
1982: Mark Richards (AUS)
1981: Simon Anderson (AUS)
1980: Mark Richards (AUS)
1979: Mark Richards (AUS)
1978: Mark Richards (AUS)
1977: Simon Anderson (AUS)
1976: Jeff Hakman (HAW)
1975: Michael Peterson (AUS)
1974: Michael Peterson (AUS)
1973: Michael Peterson (AUS)

Top Prize
Carissa Moore ringing the historied bell at last year's Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach.

2015: Carissa Moore (HAW)
2014: Carissa Moore (HAW)
2013: Carissa Moore (HAW)
2012: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
2011: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
2010: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2009: Silvana Lima (BRA)
2008: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2007: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2005: Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
2001: Neridah Falconer (AUS)
2000: Megan Abubo (HAW)
1999: Layne Beachley (AUS)
1998: Layne Beachley (AUS)
1997: Lisa Andersen (USA)
1996: Pauline Menczer (AUS)
1995: Lisa Andersen (USA)
1994: Layne Beachley (AUS)
1993: Pauline Menczer (AUS)
1992: Lisa Andersen (USA)
1991: Pauline Menczer (AUS)
1990: Lisa Andersen (USA)
1989: Wendy Botha (AUS)
1988: Kim Mearig (USA)
1985: Frieda Zamba (USA)
1984: Kim Mearig (USA)
1983: Helen Lambert (AUS)
1982: Debbie Beacham (USA)
1980: Margo Oberg (USA)
1979: Lynne Boyer (USA)
1978: Margo Oberg (USA)
1977: Margo Oberg (USA)