No Contest: A Guide To The World Tour's Extracurriculars At Bells
That time Occy "attacked" Slater, how a 50+year-old icon feels being compared to a teenage girl, dreamy A-Frames, and so much more.
Survey the World Tour and the sprawling entourage that follows and you'll find Torquay to be one of their most beloved locales (regardless of the annual outpouring of claims that Bells, nor Winki, are Dream Tour-level waves).
The place is absurdly charming, in a classically Australian way. When juxtaposed against the experience navigating the Gold Coast's density of buildings, cars, businesses, Torquay feels like a country oasis. It's broadly rural and quiet, almost sleepy, save for a few staple spots like the Jan Juc Pub, or Bird Rock.
On this episode of No Contest, our travel series with Red Bull hosted by Stab's Editor Ashton Goggans, we grabbed Bells Beach favorite son, Cahill Bell-Warren, who grew up literally on the hill above the iconic Bells Bowl, for a local's vantage. The sharp-witted regular-footer (and 2014 trial's winner) stopped just shy of giving up the good w/r/t Bells landmarks—"those cost money," he only half-joked.
With a solid swell looking to light up one of Australia's most fickle, pristine strike zones, we got the nod from Vic's veteran lensman Ed Sloane and hopped a private plane to King Island with Matt Wilkinson and Soli Bailey, in search of A-Frame's that'll make your mouth water and a lobster pie that'll do much of the same.
Ask any surfer, of any level, and chances are they'll agree: the Holy Grail, regardless of surf-specific kink, are hollow, split-peak A-frames breaking over sand.
Soli Bailey stunned on approach.
"Yeahhhhhhh! I've wanted to go there my whole life," Wilko said about half-a-second after we threw out the idea of heading to King Island between the Goldie and Bells.
Soli Bailey, working up an appetite gorging on sandbar pits.
Soli Bailey, hood blown back and headed for glory.
Wanna know what lunchbreaks look like running the show at No Contest. Our very own Jacob "Woody" Wooden paddled out while the boys smashed whatever they could get in their mouths before their last session of the single-day strike. According to Sam Moody, Woody paddled out and caught six waves in twenty minutes and got blown out of five barrels, typical of Ye Ol' Woodrow's Lordish Behaviour.
Back in Torquay, after a heartwarming display of support for the Fight For The Bight movement, we took a drive down the Great Ocean Road, through the Great Otway National Park hoping to take in some sights and score some of the storied beachbreaks just the other side of the Cape Otway. The drive itself is one of the Top-10 most scenic drives in the world.
Back at Bells, we meet up with one of Stab's absolute favorites on tour, 17-year-old Florida phenom Caroline Marks. Miss Marks' surfing has earned her comparisons to The Occy, as she calls him, for similarities in style, power and approach. With Occy in town for his rematch with Tom Curren, we couldn't resist getting the two together to hear what a 50-plus icon feels being compared to a teenage girl.
"I was just watching those clips of him from the Skins event," Caroline admitted when we rocked up to the Bells carpark. Allow us to remind you:
Rounding out the episode, we head to the Torquay Tigers' Friday night footy game, wash down lukewarm meat pies with some very cold tins before heading to the Torquay Bolo, at the generous invitation of The Swellians, Vaughan Blakey and Jed Smith. It was a night of lols with da GOAT, Kelly Slater, and The Raging Bull, Occy, himself.
This is episode 2 of No Contest 2019, enjoy!