World Surf League to return to Bells Beach for three years from 2022 | Ralph Lauren

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The cancellation of this year’s World Surf League stop at Bells Beach has been offset by confirmation the famed Victorian break will host the event for at least three more years beyond that.

The deal until 2024 was announced on Friday, just days after this year’s WSL Championship Tour return in Easter was scrapped.

It will be the first time since 1961 that the Rip Curl Pro surfing event is not held at the beach near Torquay.

Courtney Conlogue of USA reacting after winning the 2019 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria.
Camera IconCourtney Conlogue of USA reacting after winning the 2019 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria. Credit: KELLY CESTARI/PR IMAGE

WSL officials were unable to secure a pre-approved bubble arrangement with the Victorian government, instead shifting the tour’s return to Newcastle from April 1.

“It was an extremely difficult decision to cancel one of the most iconic events on the Championship Tour,” WSL Asia Pacific boss Andrew Stark said.

“However, we are genuinely excited to confirm the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event into the future with a new three-year agreement that will ensure the continuation of one of surfing’s most historical events.”

The new-look Championship Tour commenced with the women’s Maui Pro and men’s Pipeline Masters in Hawaii in December, where Australian Tyler Wright and hometown hero John John Florence were victorious.

But both events suffered lengthy delays, first because of a deadly shark attack on a recreational surfer in the area and then when WSL boss Erik Logan contracted COVID-19.

With event staff and participants all existing in five-person bubbles, both events were able to be completed once it was established the virus had not spread.

Two consequential events in the United States were then cancelled before the WSL trumpeted the Rip Curl Pro as the tour’s return event.

Western Australia’s Margaret River Pro and Gold Coast’s Championship Tour stop, set to be held between April 12 and May 26, are both listed as “tentative” on the WSL calendar.

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