I love Bells. I love Winkipop. I love Jan Juc. I love the Great Ocean Road. I love Melbourne. I love the girls. The people. The climate. I love love love that area. I love wetsuits. And I love that the Rip Curl office is the city center. I love it so much I once went to the 50th Anniversary of The Rip Curl Pro Bells and hobnobbed with all the crustiest of Rip Curl founders and former team legends and event winners and then stayed out all night and had a house party that was attended by Nikki van Dijk waaaaay before she was old enough to drink. So wild! And while attending the 50th Anniversary event I heard the wildest stories from the past of hungover/drunken morning blitzes down the country roads toward the wave in an attempt to make a heat. And I was told these stories by event winners and champions! And they would tell me of the parties that would ignite in the usually sleepy town of Torquay for weeks on end. And I even experienced some of that myself a few years ago during my visit. All classic stuff. I’ve heard all the folklore about the early days of Rip Curl and cold mornings out at 100-foot Bells and all the fucked up ways they celebrate surviving those days and they don’t get much more classic. And the event itself even comes with ghost stories of the recently passed away MP blowing down all the banners except his on the bluff during an overnight storm. It’s so classic and riddled with surf history that it’s sponsored by the saltiest brand we have: Rip Curl!
And as we fire up yet another year of Bells, like, right now, and I watch all the day-glo neoprene compression trunks gripping everyone’s balls tighter as they run down the storied steps, trailed by trainers who are trailed by team managers, I must tell you how it all pains me to think how much fun it used to be when the tour would roll into town. Kids looked forward to movie premieres and parties and drinking too many Bourbon and Coke cans at the comp. And Dane was on tour and he would cruise around town and drink beers on the bluff and hang with the kids in the lot. I even saw him get kicked out of the competitor’s area once because he was so low key! And now,
All I can do is yawn thinking about how boring the competitor’s nights before probably were and how sad the whole town of Torquay must be when the contest is in town these days.
And to add more salt to the wound, today it was announced that Axl Rose will be replacing long-time singer of AC/DC Brian Johnson on their upcoming tour. Now the playing of “Hell’s Bells” won’t even feel right. —Travis