Bells Beach is a coastal locality of Victoria, Australia in Surf Coast Shire and a renowned surf beach, located 100 km south-west of Melbourne, on the Great Ocean Road near the towns of Torquay and Jan Juc.
It is named after John Cavert Bell of the family that first took up a pastoral run there in the 1840s. The beach and coastal reserve are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Bells Beach is the home of the world's longest-running surfing competition – the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival. The event was formerly known as the Bells Beach Surf Classic. The competition was first held in January 1961 and then at Easter every year since although occasionally, when conditions at Bells aren't suitable, the competition has been transferred to other breaks such as Johanna and Woolamai.
As early as 1939, surfers from Torquay made their way to Bells but access was a considerable problem until 1960, when Torquay surfers and Olympic wrestler Joe Sweeney hired a bulldozer and cleared a road along the Bells cliff from the Cobb & Co Road, where the concrete wave now stands, down to the beach. He charged one pound per surfer to recover his expenses. This is now part of the Torquay to Anglesea walking track.
Nearby surf breaks include "Southside", "Centreside", "Rincon", "Winki Pop", (Uppers and Lowers), "Boobs" and "Steps". Although Bells is known internationally as one of the best breaks in Victoria, "Winki Pop" often works better under more diverse conditions than the other nearby breaks.
Australian Surf rider's Association- ASA(Victorian Branch)- Now called Surfing Victoria hosted and staged Bells from its inception 1963. They also ran the conservation contest which included tree planting every year since the mid 70's
In 1988 a group of local surfers who were concerned about the human impact that tourism was having on the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve started a group called Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment. Since 1988 they have met monthly to revegetate the reserve in an effort to bring it back to its original state. They have planted over 100,000 plants there to date.
Although the final scene of the film Point Break is set at Bells Beach, the scene was not filmed there. Bells Beach is a straight stretch and the beach in the film is a cove with spruce trees atop a hill. The actual location of the film was a beach called Indian Beach, in Ecola State Park, located in Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA.
Bells Beach is visited in the 1966 documentary film The Endless Summer.
In the 2007 animation film Surf's Up, the Australian surfer is shown to be from Bells Beach.
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