The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm - Voting Begins

Last year, after five years of waiting, the inaugural 50 Year Storm in Memory of Shaun Brooks was held in epic conditions at Bells Beach. Now at the beginning of another big wave season, voting for the 2022 event has commenced.

Voting can be done here.

You can also access the page via Instagram here.

Event organisers hope to be more inclusive of surfers from around the state this year after COVID restrictions disallowed competitors from outside the 3228 postcode.

2021 Men's event winner Tim Stevenson (Steve Ryan)

2021 winners, from left, Tim Stevenson, Jeff Sweeney, and Angela Ball (Jules Smith)

The Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational in memory of local legend Shaun Brooks will see a field of family, friends, local surfing royalty, and big-wave chargers paddle out for a one-day, inspirational event at Bells to ride the biggest waves and remember their friend Shaun, a former World Junior and Victorian Open champion, who took his own life in 2012 after a long battle with mental illness. 

The event purpose is to raise awareness around mental wellbeing and create a platform to assist with others in the community who require support. Through the generous donations from sponsors and fundraising, the event has raised over $45,000 for the beneficiaries One in Five and Headspace who do amazing work in the community. 

The event window is between June 1st through August 31st and will run in the biggest and best conditions of the waiting period.

The number of surfers invited by the public voting system is 30, with 25 spots voted on by the public. The remaining five wildcards will be decided by the Brooks family and the 50 Year Storm Committee. We encourage all friends and family to get behind the surfers that they think should be included.

The 50 Year Storm came about as a way for Shaun’s friends to bring acknowledgement to him, and awareness to mental health issues. To create an event of scale as well as a safe environment for conversation. Based off the tongue in cheek 90’s classic movie Point Break, where Bohdi (Patrick Swayze) escapes an FBI man hunt to paddle out into massive waves created by the mythical 50 year storm at Bells Beach. More than a big wave event, it has grown into a metaphor that everyone at one point in their life will experience a 50 year storm of some magnitude. The aim of the event is to bring the community together, to create conversations, create awareness and break down the stigma behind mental health wellbeing. Held over the three months of winter in the biggest and best swell of the season, the event is one of the only in the world that includes men and women together showing that equality in surfing is real.

Shyama Buttonshaw (Zaz)

The 50 Year Storm in Memory of Shaun Brooks event aims to raise mental health awareness, give people the tools to face challenges and get the community together for a unique surfing event. If you are struggling, we urge you to talk to your mates, reach out to your family and friends, or a professional. If you think someone close to you is having trouble, ask them the question, are you ok, and try it a few times as they never answer how they really feel the first few times.

About One in Five: Investing in research will help us find the answers to why one in five people has a mental illness. One in five Australians suffer from a mental illness. We are striving to make one in five, none in five. 

About 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. 

For more information please contact: Carlo Lowdon


Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Tuesday, 24 May 2022 at 6:10pm

Big waves for a big issue.

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop Tuesday, 24 May 2022 at 7:03pm

I remember that third pic from last time. Such a good one.

Nice bottom turn in the first shot too. Head down, bum up, eyes on the lip. Digging deep.

spinafex's picture
spinafex's picture
spinafex Wednesday, 25 May 2022 at 10:46am

How can a fifty year storm be an annual event? - are they going to compare waves for the next 49 years and pick a winner?

woody100's picture
woody100's picture
woody100 Wednesday, 25 May 2022 at 10:56am


Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick Wednesday, 25 May 2022 at 11:44am

Did Angela Ball ride a replica of Simon's 81 thruster? Or is that a prize she is holding?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 25 May 2022 at 11:51am

Nah, that's a prize she won.