Gathering of the tribe celebrates 50 years of competitive surfing at Bells Beach

16 Apr 2011 0 Share

With the 2011 Rip Curl Pro presented by FORD only days away a cavalcade of surfing's elite descended upon Australia’s ancestral home of the sport, Bells Beach, for the Gathering of the Tribe Reunion.

To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Rip Curl Pro and Bells Beach Easter Rally, Rip Curl and Surfing Victoria invited all past competitors, officials, staff and even fans that have simply watched the contest over the years, to Bells Beach for a unique reunion.

With an awesome turnout of past champions and a diverse range of the event's characters from years gone by, it was a day full of memories and the sharing of old yarns.

Previous competitive foes caught up on past wins, event officials discussed controversial decisions from years gone by and surfing enthusiasts debated the best heats of all time.

Presented on stage in front of the gathered tribe were event administrators and significant surfers of the journey, along with the pioneers of the event.

Honouring the 50-year milestone, 2 x Rip Curl Pro Champion and past ASP World Champion Tom Curren (USA), rang the famous Bell to officially open this year's Rip Curl Pro presented by FORD.

Speaking before he entered the water for a relaxed expression session, Curren said, “It’s amazing to be here to celebrate 50 years. It’s an event with great tradition and a long history, but the overall feeling of the contest is still the same from when I first started coming here as a teenager.”

Rip Curl Co-founder Doug 'Claw' Warbrick added, “It is hard to believe the contest has been running for 50 years. I have to pinch myself and think if it’s real, because that’s a lot of history for one surfing event.”

“There have been so many highlights over the years, including the two big years of 65’ and 81’ and the first professional year in 1973. That was the first time we saw professional surfing in Australia and Michael Peterson’s surfing was a highlight that year,” said Warbrick.

Speaking excitedly about the upcoming 2011 Rip Curl Pro, Warbrick added, “We have good swell forecasts for this year, reports at this early stage are of a clean ground swell and offshore winds. Small to medium in the early stages of the waiting period, but they are hinting that it might get bigger towards Good Friday.”

The 2011 Rip Curl Pro is the second stop on the ASP World Title season, running from April 19 to April 30.

The event will feature both the ASP Top 34 male surfers in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger and the ASP Top 17 female surfers in the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta.

The Championship Moves Men’s Trials will commence on Monday and the winner will earn a prized Wildcard entry into the main event..

Staying connected with the 2011 Rip Curl Pro is easy, with a live webcast @ www.live.ripcurl.com and live TV broadcasts on Fuel TV in Australia, ESPN Brasil and Time Warner Cable in Hawaii.

The Rip Curl Pro is presented by FORD with partners the Victorian Government, Surfing Victoria, Virgin Blue, Telstra, Nature Valley, Ozmosis, Tooheys Extra Dry, Jim Beam, Sea-Doo, Tracks, Fuel TV, Power Balance, Skullcandy, Surf Coast Shire, CO2 and official forecaster Coastalwatch.

For more information log on to www.live.ripcurl.com...

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