Iconic surf contest shuttered for anniversary of game-changing 1981 event…
It was gonna be a hell of a Bells contest, at least viewed through the prism of history.
Forty Easters ago, on the second-last day of the contest, Simon Anderson, who was twenty-seven, famously rode his new six-six, three-finned surfboard, which he’d called a “thruster”, to dominate in clean fifteen-foot waves, the design legitimised further when he won the final in two-to-three-foot runners.
“There were many skeptics [regarding the Thruster], and some people openly laughed,” Simon told the writer Drew Kampion that year. “All year they were saying that the Thruster wouldn’t work. They said it in Australia, and I proved it there; they said it in Hawaii, and I proved it there, too. It’s a complicated design, and one little thing can throw it off, and it can really turn you off on them if you don’t get hold of a good one.”
Howevs, and as reported earlier, there was little chance Bells was ever gonna run in a state famous for having the world’s strictest lockdown laws.
Entire towers of state government housing shuttered, its residents cowering inside; cops ready to wrestle at the slightest provocation. A pregnant woman, handcuffed in front of her kids and dragged away for planning an anti-lockdown protest on Facebook, despite her offer to delete the post.
Over the course of less than a month, August 4 through September 2, 2020, almost three million dollars in fines were issued.
“We were not provided with the assurance to land the plane by the Victorian government and we understood and respected that position as we needed an answer right at the time the tennis issue was unfolding in early January so clearly, that was going to be challenging to achieve,” a WSL spokesperson told The Age. “We understood why a decision to land our charter in amongst the tennis issues was not possible but we needed a solution for our sport to stay alive in 2021 and we were very fortunate that NSW was able to provide this to us at extremely short notice.”
The state government said it had bigger fish to fry, frankly.
“Given the stated priority of accommodating returning Australians, we were unable to provide the World Surf League with a guarantee regarding quarantine places for international surfers within the time frame required by them. We continue to work with the World Surf League on plans for the Rip Curl Pro and will have more to say in due course.”
It is estimated the local economy will be stiffed by around eight million bucks.