How did the Bells Beach Longboard Classic event come about?
WSL approached Visit Victoria and Surf Coast Shire Council about the opportunity to host one of four World Longboard Tour events at Bells Beach.
The opportunity for WSL to host an additional surfing event at Bells Beach is specifically provided for in the Bells Beach Events Policy.
As part of considering the proposal, the Bells Beach Committee received a briefing on the event, and their feedback was shared with Council.
Council, as the current land manager of Bells Beach, considered the proposal and resolved to support it based on the following information:
- Support from Visit Victoria for the event
- Confirmation from Surfing Victoria that it would not utilise its optional fifth event during the years the Bells Beach Longboard Classic will run, meaning the maximum number of events to be held at Bells Beach will remain at nine
- The Australian Longboard Trials will be staged at Torquay Point, reducing the event duration at Bells Beach.
- Community and economic benefits that the event will deliver
What is the Bells Beach Longboard Classic?
The Bells Beach Longboard Classic will be a stop on the new look WSL World Longboard Tour. The tournament is one of only four events on the World Longboard Tour in 2023.
Where will the event take place?
The Bells Beach Longboard Classic will be run at Bells Beach, Victoria. Winkipop surf break will not be utilised for the event. In addition to the main event, the Bells Beach Longboard Classic Australian Trials will be held at Torquay Point on the 29th of August. This event will be made up of the top 24 men and women who haven't qualified through their rankings for the main event.
Will the Bells Beach Longboard Classic be a ticketed event?
The Bells Beach Longboard Classic will be a free event open to the public.
What is the event duration?
The Bells Beach Longboard Classic will run from the 30th August - 2nd September, 2023. This includes 31 heats per men's and women's divisions, totalling 62 heats across a four day waiting period.
The set-up and pack-up period will be five days in total: A three-day set up and two-day pack up (this in addition to the stated event dates).
In addition to the main event, the Bells Beach Longboard Classic Australian Trials will be held at Torquay Point on the 29th of August.
What is the event format?
The Bells Beach Longboard Classic will be a free event and host 24 surfers for the men's division and 24 surfers for the women's division. Each field will be made up of the Top 8 from the 2022 rankings, 13 surfers selected from the regions, one WSL wildcard, and two event wildcards.
In addition to the main event, the one-day Bells Beach Longboard Classic Australian Trials will feature 24 male and 24 female surfers vying for two wildcards (1 male and 1 female) into the Bells Beach Longboard Classic. The Victorian wildcard spots will be decided through the Victorian Longboard Titles with dates to be announced in the coming week.
Will the Bells Beach Longboard Classic have a similar impact on the surrounding area as the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach?
- This event in August / September will have a significantly smaller impact and footprint than the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event over Easter. The event site footprint is only as big as the Bells Beach carpark hammerhead (the bottom section of the carpark) with limited infrastructure
- The main event will be a maximum four day waiting period with a 3 day set up and 2 day pack up, which is significantly less than the Rip Curl Pro event build, which commences 23 days prior to the event. (In addition to the stated event dates)
- There will be no adjustments to traffic flow on Bells Beach road as the event is expected to draw a smaller audience in comparison to the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event at Easter
- The event will only utilise the Bells Beach and not Winkipop surf break
- The Bells Beach Longboard Classic Australian Trials event will be held at Torquay Point for one day before the window opens
- In 2023, the event will wrap ahead of Father's Day to ensure Bells is open to the public to celebrate that day
- Along with existing fencing additional measures will be implemented to the areas surrounding the event site to protect the vegetation and cultural heritage values
What are the benefits that the event will bring to the local community?
- The event brings the world's best longboarders to Bells Beach with free public entry
- The event complements the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the National Indigenous Surfing Titles, already held at Bells Beach.
- The event provides a global platform for tourism promotion of the Surf Coast
- Supports local businesses during the winter/off-peak season
- Partnering with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners
- Creating pathways for athletes via Victorian and Australian trials events
How will the event be delivered?
The World Surf League will partner with Surfing Victoria who will assist with the operations of the Bells Beach Longboard Classic. The event will be executed in accordance with the Bells Beach Event Policy.
Where can I find out more about the Bells Beach Longboard Classic?
Please visit worldsurfleague.com for more information