The Rip Curl Pro is the recipient of our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, with this year bringing you “60 Years of Bells”. Formerly known as the Bells Beach Surf Classic, “Bells” is iconic on the WSL Surfing World Tour & the prestigious Bell trophy is one of the most sought after accolades in the industry.

“Bells” is steeped in history & was founded in 1962 by Vic Tantau & Peter Troy. In 1973 Rip Curl approached the Australian Surfriders Association to sponsor the event & offer prize money. That watershed year it was won by the legendary Michael Peterson, which set the wheels of the professional train in motion. Other World Champions to win numerous times over the years include Mark Richards, Tom Curren, Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Layne Beachley, Stephanie Gilmore & Carissa Moore.

Since its inception, the Bells meet had been frequently blessed with big, powerful waves which tested the skills & courage of Australia’s leading surfers & big wave specialists. In its very early days, big wave legends like Bob Pike, Peter Troy & Nipper Williams would perform in the only Australian contest that regularly offered waves which matched Hawaii’s for size & power. This event quickly became a fixture on Australian surf calendars with Mick Fanning saying “It remains one of the most special surfing competitions in the world & the one closest to my heart..”

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach epitomises the true spirit of surfing, holds a special place in Australian surfing history & is definitely the most deserving recipient for the inaugural SBIA Lifetime Achievement Award.