It has a solid claim to being the single most iconic trophy in surfing. And it's gone missing. According to Rochelle Wood, Nick Wood's sister, the famous Bells Trophy he won as a 16-year-old in 1987 is MIA.
Rochelle explained in a Facebook post that around ten years ago Nick was between houses and left a load of possessions, including the Bell, at a friend's house. When the friend relocated all of Nick's possessions were put into a storage shed in Newcastle. When the fees weren't paid everything in the storage unit, including the Bells trophy, was put up for auction. Rochelle says she has spoken to the auction house who confirmed that the trophy was sold, but that they couldn't provide any details of who it was sold to.
"If anyone knows where it may be, or the guy's name who actually did or does still have it, I would be overjoyed and would be happy to buy it back for double what was paid," Wood posted.
Now while the value of the trophy is hard to quantify, its iconic place in surfing folklore isn't. Each winner of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is given a handmade replica of the large brass Bells trophy that has been rung by each winner since 1973. That tradition and unique nature has made the Bell replica's surfing's most prized trophies.
However of all the Bells competitions held in its 45-year professional surfing history, it is Wood's win in 1987 that might be the most famous. Wood defeated Tom Curren, Shaun Tomson and Barton Lynch on the way to victory and to this day remains the youngest male surfer to win a 'CT event and the only one to win in his World Tour debut. Wood's career was later cut short, first by injury and then later by health issues, but that victory remains one of surfing's most famous.
Now the physical representation of that win could either be sitting on a fan's mantlepiece, gathering dust in a garage or simply lost. Rochelle is hoping to locate the trophy. "It's a part of our family's history, my mum used to ring it at dinner time as a joke and we would all know tea was ready," she wrote. "I'd love to get it back, just so I can return it to my brother."