The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational Voting Begins

23 Apr 2020 0 Share

COASTALWATCH | EVENTS

Press Release

With the postponement of the Rip Curl Pro this year, due to Covid-19, we thought there was no better time to reach out to the broad surfing community and start the voting period for the Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational 2020. At a time when we are normally all together in Torquay, watching the Bells event and socialising over the Easter long weekend, we decided to open up the voting via Survey Monkey, thereby creating connections between surfers (albeit digitally) for an event we all hold dear. Voting finishes on Midnight Friday May 1 2020. We hope to run the event later in the year, if ‘stay at home’ measures are eased, but we may also be only open to those from 3228 postcode. Our normal waiting period would be June 1 - September 13 2020. Our Opening Ceremony will also be postponed due to the limit on gatherings.

The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational will see local legend Shaun Brooks honoured, as a field of family, friends, local surfing royalty and big-wave chargers paddle out for a one-day invitational contest at Bells. Shaun, a former World Junior and Victorian Open champion, took his own life in 2012 after a long battle with mental illness.

Mental health should be in the forefront of all our minds with the current worldwide lockdown to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Isolation is one of the things that brings out the demons in all of us. Depression and anxiety will be widespread due to social distancing, loss of income and the spread of the virus on loved ones. Talk to your mates, and ask the hard questions. Please, if you feel this way, reach out to your friends or one of our partners for help.

Surfing is currently allowed, but only if it is required daily physical exercise. It may also be limited further in time, so please take the government's advice and don’t leave home, do not travel. Stay at home.

Shaun Brooks surfing in the 80s. Photo courtesy Steve Treance

Shaun Brooks surfing in the 80s. Photo courtesy Steve Treance

The 50 Year Storm event has been unsuccessful in running for the past three years. As the event is about mental illness awareness and sharing, the events’ committee is committed to running the event later in the year. We have changed the official event running conditions to "the best big day" in the waiting period.

The number of surfers in the event has grown from 18 to 30, with 25 spots voted on by the public. The other five wildcards will be decided by the Brooks family and the 50 Year Storm Committee.

The tight-knit Torquay surfing community and surf industry has embraced the event. So far, over $20,000 has been raised to benefit mental health programs in the local community of Torquay. The event channels the fabled history of Bells Beach, with the name a cheeky reference to the 1991 cult movie, Point Break, where the lead character Bodhi paddles out at Bells in the "50-year storm," never to return.

Public voting for the 25 surfers opens on April 5. The voting information can be found on the Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Instagram or on Survey Monkey.

The waiting period for this year's event begins on June 1 and closes September 13, 2020.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Headspace on 1800 650 890.

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