- WSL / Matt Dunbar

The 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach was the first of many events in 2019 blessed with pumping waves, but it was also the stage for epic comebacks, standout performances and even a close call or two.

As we celebrate one of surfing's most hallowed venues this week, we're taking a look back at last year's event. It may be fresh in many a memory, but it's also seared into history as one of the all-time runs at a location which has played host to some of surfing's biggest moments.

John John Florence Returned From Injury

John John Florence won the event in a final with Filipe Toledo, after coming back from a knee injury sustained in Bali which had prematurely ended his 2018 season. He came to Torquay and dominated with a sharp, authoritative rail game which reminded fans of his virtuosity.

Florence Claims Rip Curl Pro, Takes Jeep Leader Jersey
3:52
After an injury plagued 2018 season, John is back to claim his first spot on the Bells Beach stairs after taking down Toledo in the Final.

Conlogue's Perfect Ride

Courtney Conlogue also came back from injury, put on a rail-surfing masterclass and took out the event. Perhaps the highlight of the entire contest was her perfect ride, which became one of the best-surfed waves of the entire year.

Perfect Rides From an Epic Season
2:04
Looking back on 2019's perfect scores, and a journey to Papua New Guinea with a new season of Brilliant Corners from WSL Studios.

Italo's Close Call

Meanwhile, Italo Ferreira would go on to win his maiden World Title in 2019. But along the way, he had to deal with a tricky situation when he was washed around Winkipop. He'd been taken out by massive shorebreak during the Quarterfinals, and was washed over the infamous button.

Ferreira's Close Call, Washed Around Winkipop
1:28
Italo Ferreira is taken out by massive shorebreak during the Quarterfinals and washed over the Winkipop button.

The GOAT On A Simon Anderson

The best surfer to ever do it (and 4x Bells champion) Kelly Slater took on pumping Bells on a Simon Anderson board, 39 years after Simon Anderson himself rode his thruster to victory at the 1981 event, starting a revolution in the process.

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 26: 11X World Champion Kelly Slater of USA advances to the quarter finals of the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach after winning Heat 1 of Round 4 at Bells Beach on April 26, 2019 in Victoria, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Cestari/WS Kelly Slater - WSL / Kelly Cestari

It Was Big

Last, but not least, it pumped. The event was treated to one of the largest swells it had seen in twenty years, care of a series of Southern Ocean storms. This showcased Bells in its raw, rugged beauty. It was challenging, and even downright intimidating, but the world's best put on an epic show.

Day 5 Highlights: A-List Matchups Lead Finals Day
2:38
Firing conditions at the Bells Bowl set the stage for Conlogue's third Bells trophy and Florence's first.
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