Voting for the Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational begins
With the arrival of the first real winter swell, what better time to vote on who will compete in this years Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational.
Voting is open now and finishes on May 15.
The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational honours local legend Shaun Brooks as family, friends, and the local surfing royalty 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.
The event channels the fabled history of Bells Beach, with the name a cheeky reference to the 1991 movie Point Break, where the lead character Bodhi paddles out at Bells in the "50-year storm" never to return.
The 50 Year Storm event hasn't run the past two years as organisers held out for huge waves. However, the event's committee is committed to running the event this year and have changed the criteria to "the best big day" within the waiting period.
"When Shaun was home he was always chasing the best waves around our state," said event committee member Carlo Lowdon, "but he especially loved when his home of Bells Beach was perfect. His beautiful lines were inspirational to a lot of us in the town."
The number of surfers in the event has grown from 18 to 30, with 25 of those spots voted on by the public. The other five wildcards will be decided by the Brooks family and the 50 Year Storm Committee. It was decided to increase the number of surfers due to the number of up and coming chargers in the state.
The tight-knit Torquay surfing community and surf industry has swung behind the event. So far over $15,000 has been raised to benefit mental health programs in the local community of Torquay.
Surfers gather in commemoration of Shaun on May 17th 2017.
Public voting for the 25 surfers is open now. The voting information can be found here.
The opening ceremony for the 50 Year Storm Invitational will be held at Bells Beach on June 8th. The ceremony will feature a traditional Wathaurong welcome, the introduction of the invitees, then a paddle out and party wave for all those who wish to be involved.
The waiting period for this year's event begins on June 3 and closes August 31.
For more information please contact: Carlo Lowdon [email protected]
One in Five: One in five Australians suffer from a mental illness. We are striving to make one in five, none in five. Investing in research will help us find the answers to why one in five people has a mental illness.
Headspace: Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing.