The Rip Curl Pro is a unique beast. Each year thousands of people head to Torquay to check out the action at Bells Beach as the world’s best surfers compete for that rare chance to ‘ring the Bell’ in the carpark in front of thousands of people.
While thousands of people hit the beach hundreds of pro surfers, media sponsors, shapers and surfing legends head to Bells each year to check out the action… hang out with each other and enjoy the behind the scenes camaraderie of the longest running surfing event in the world.
Dick Hoole was down at Bells recently for one night surf film retrospective presented by the Bells Beach Surf Film Festival. Dick is one of the legends of Australia’s surf media and it was great to catch up with him over Easter.
Dick was originally from Sydney but soon drifted north to Byron Bay and then Hawaii. It was in Hawaii he started working for Randy Rarick sanding and making fins. Whilst working at Weber/Surfboards Hawaii he met a tall Hawaiian Jack McCoy who was the surfboard salesman at the time. Randy and Jack also showed surf films around Hawaii and after seeing the guys come home one night literally swimming in cash that Dick decided there was more money to be made making surf films then shaping fins!
Dick came back to Australia… Jack McCoy followed and in 1975 after trips to Hawaii and Bali they released their first surf film… the iconic TUBULAR SWELLS.
Hoole/McCoy films were always something special. Jack would film the surfers from the water while Dick filmed from the land although they would often swap roles. Their films were truly Australian with the world’s best surfers at the time (many from the Gold Coast) and music by great Aussie bands.
After TUBULAR SWELLS came STORM RIDERS… truly one of the great surf films with footage of 20 foot waves at Bells accompanied by Australian Crawl on the soundtrack. The Sunnyboys, Split Enz, Models and Sharon O’Neill all featured on this amazing surf film that drew massive audiences around Australia (they booked out the Sydney Opera House for two weeks solid).
Fast forward 40 years and Dick still has a hand in film making working on the surf feature documentary ALOHA DEATH recently for the Japanese government.
Bells Beach is an amazing wave but what makes it special is the people who call it home and the people who return year after year for its waves and surf stories told over a cold beer at Easter time. There is no place like Bells.
Written by John Foss