Bells Beach Pioneers Day

March 24th saw the beginning of the 2013 Bells Beach Rip Curl Surfing Festival, with good conditions forecast across the entire contest period and crowds expected to be large, Bells did not disappoint. Surfing Victoria decided they would pay tribute to the Pioneers of Surfing from each coast by means of a one hour expression session held at the Meccaof all surfspots, Bells Beach. The East Coast was represented by Phil Trigger, Ted Banbridge, Mick Pierce, Paul Trigger, Gary Burns and coming out of retirement Ian ‘Cocky’ Cochrane.

Bells did not fail to produce for the heat, with classic 6-8ft waves fanned by a crisp clean North Westerly, pumping through the bowl. Phil Trigger and Ian Cochrane headed straight out to Rincon and set the pace with a couple of great waves which ran all the way to the bowl. Mick Pierce managed to jag a good wave from the bowl and that single fin channel bottom gun he was riding drew some great lines as he wound down the clean bells walls.

TB Teddy Bainbridge also weighed in to a beauty through the bowl getting a well deserved cover up which drew much applause from the crowd in the stand and the commentators.

Easy Coast Pioneers sent out in perfect 6-8ft Bells.A couple of solid sets cleaned the boys up, which tested some of the old masters paddling capabilities. Gary Burns (aka G.Purvis) showed he still could win an open title as he pulled off some clean moves through the bowl. The West Coast had the likes of Rod Brooks, Greg Brown, Bob Smith and Brian Singer all who showed they still are capable of finding the right wave at the right time. Greg Brown thrilled us with some great antics on what we believed was an original surf craft from the 50’s. The East Coast boys continually showed they still could dominate a heat with ‘Cocky’, Mick, Bazza and Phil Trigger getting their fair share of waves. Phil Trigger at one stage getting a wave all the way through the bowl and then getting a ride back out to the take of spot like a Pro! Trust Phil if he’s not dropping in he’s hogging the jet-ski.

Other Eastcoasters who were honoured were past presidents of Surfing Victoria, Peter ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson, Gary Burns, John Collins and current ASP Head Judge Richard (movie star) Porta. All who had been instrumental in making Surfing Victoria what it is today.

The day was a real success with many legends and friends’ coming together for what is one of the greatest surfing contests in the world. Vicky Title Holders were there, Bells champions, World Title holders, ex-presidents; all who help make Surfing at Bells the unique place it is today. The waves turned it on for this special day and all who attended shared some special memories, a big thank you must go to Max Wells for organising the heat and giving some old fellas one last chance at a slice of Bells magic .The Eastcoast was well represented with locals Phil and Trish Trigger Paul Trigger Peter Wilko Cocky , Tony Fiona and Joel Reid Phil Newman Mick Pierce Gary Burns Ted Bainbridge Phil Jarrett and the original suicide savages Jacko and Mutton bird all who made the pilgramige by ferry or road.

Perfect waves renewing old friendships what more could you ask for !

Phil Newman (TSA)

We received some additional shots from photographer Ian Elliott of Nut Graphics