The Jewel of Torquay was left off National Geographic's list but huzzah! Vogue!
You have, of course, read National Geographic‘s list of the world’s top 20 surf towns and maybe you’ve read it twice. Those in Tel Aviv, Raglan, Queens New York, Cornwall and Tofino are cheering wildly. Throwing their arms in the air like they just don’t care. “We matter!” they chant in unison. “We really really really matter!”
Those in Encinitas, Santa Cruz, Bondi, Coolangatta and Torquay, on the other hand, are weeping. Weeping hot tears into lukewarm beers and mumbling, “What have we done? What have we done to be thrown from the light to outer darkness?”
Well Torquay, home to the famed Bells Beach, you can stop crying! Vogue magazine says you sexy too! Shall we read?
As the April sun rises on Bells Beach, Australia, barefoot locals descend on the renowned surf spot by the hundreds. City kids load up their parents’ Kombi vans with friends and boards and head for Great Ocean Road; residents of neighboring Torquay and Jan Juc push signs on their front yards pledging support to surfers Nikki Van Dijk, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Courtney Conlogue; cafés turning out caffeine to bleary-eyed athletes set their televisions to the Rip Curl Pro Tour, the country’s version of the Super Bowl. One of two locations the World Surf League visits annually in Australia, this beach that sits on the Victoria coast is legendary for its early autumn point break and seemingly endless lineup of crisp and long hollow waves. As a reference, this is the site of the last scene in Point Break when Bodhi tells Johnny Utah that his “whole life has been about this moment.” Surfing here is not just a novelty or a sport, it’s a way of life.
The pictures that follow exhibit Torquay, and her Bells, in all glory. I’ve spent much time there and while the company was grand the sky was always grey. The breakfast was good though. And Neil Ridgway’s (Rip Curl’s marketing guru) benevolent charm can be felt everywhere. It infects the town like some beautiful virus. Like good AIDs.