Surfers wait for the Bells Beach 50 Year Swell

Surfers wait for the Bells Beach 50 Year Swell

Point Break was a big budget Hollywood feature film that featured lots of rad stunts, hot surfing and Keanu Reeves starring as an undercover surfer. For an action film it was pretty good, gaining a cult following amongst surfers around the world.

The film built up to a dramatic ending where the lead character Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze) heads to Bells Beach to ride a swell that comes once in 50 years. It was a great scene apart from the fact they filmed it on the West Coast of the USA and had the surfers walking along a beach lined with Pine Trees (the lack of authenticity was incredible. I first saw the film in Torquay – the audience burst into laughter at the beach the Yanks were passing off as Bells Beach).

Fast forward 30 years and local surfers hope to hunt down a big swell at Bells this winter. Not for a Hollywood feature film, but to raise awareness of mental health and youth suicide issues.

The inaugural 50 YEAR STORM is being held in honour of Shaun Brooks – a local Bells Beach surfer who tragically took his own life. Shaun was one of Victoria’s top junior surfers and noted big wave rider. His surfing was ahead of its time, mixing power with modern moves. Bells was his backyard and the surfing community were rocked by his passing a number of years ago.

The event channels the history of Bells Beach with a reference to Point Break where Bodhi paddles out into massive waves (spoiler alert) but never returns.

The 50 YEAR STORM will only be held once the surf at Bells is forecast to hit a minimum of 12 feet high. Twenty of the top big wave riders from Bells including big wave specialists Ross Clarke-Jones, Greg Brown, Adam Robertson, Nigel Muscroft and Tony Ray have been invited to compete in what many hope will be a regular event.

The contest ‘window’ is open from May to August so keep an eye out on social media for when local big wave experts Tony Ray and Ross Slaven declare that the event will be ‘on’, then get down to Bells as fast as you can to watch our best local surfers competing in massive waves.

Funds from the contest will go towards the charities One In Five and Headspace.

Written by John Foss