This photo of Mick Fanning surfing pre-dawn at Bells Beach will feature in the Surfworld Surf Museum exhibition.
This photo of Mick Fanning surfing pre-dawn at Bells Beach will feature in the Surfworld Surf Museum exhibition. www. joliphotos.com

Easter set to deliver goods

SNAPPER was cracking, Big Marg has done its thing and the Easter Bunny is set to deliver for Bells and the Pa.

The World Surf League tour has been on a roll, with the best start of quality surf seen for years, and that trend is set to continue for the third and final Australian leg of the competition at the annual Rip Curl Bells Beach Easter Pro this weekend.

Snapper Rocks delivered the goods for the 2017 tour opener, the bank held in and the result had the Cinderella touch, with Owen Wright's amazing comeback and Steph Gilmore's return to form. Next up and West Australia's Margaret River turned on the gas big time. The opening day created history for North Point to be used for the very first time and last year's champ, Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz, scored the only perfect 10 on the opening day.

What followed next was a cavalcade of Indian Ocean groundswells hitting the main break and producing Hawaiian-sized 4-5-metre waves. There's been talk of replacing the WA event with an artificial wave machine, which doesn't even come close to the power and excitement of Margaret River.

The WSL will be aiming for the trifecta of the Australian leg, with an awesome forecast for the annual Rip Curl Easter Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria.

According to Surfline, Bells will have a slow start on Good Friday but then the swell will kick in from Saturday. By Sunday, the Easter eggs will be firing with a 2.8-3.4m swell that will carry through to Easter Monday and gradually drop. The third world tour event of the year will wrap up on the Tuesday after Easter.

On the same weekend, the Windansea club will host the annual Pa and Ma Bendall memorial at Moffat Headland on the Sunshine Coast. While the Rip Easter Pro as a world tour professional event began in 1973, won by Kirra legend Michael Peterson, the Pa Bendall followed the next year in 1974 and was won by Gold Coast-based Richard Harvey. After Bells, the Pa is the second longest running event in Australia.

Similarly, the Easter weekend swell forecast for the Gold and Sunshine coasts is looking awesome.

The swell will be up for Good Friday, gradually ease over the weekend and last through to Monday.

Check out the latest photo exhibition at Surfworld Surf Museum, Currumbin, including a classic pre-dawn photo of Mick Fanning surfing the Bells bowl as captured by Gold Coast photographer Peter "Joli” Wilson.

"The image of Mick was shot at Bells Beach during the warm-up to the Rip Curl Pro last year,” Joli said.

"The golden glow comes from the early morning pre-dawn sunrise. Because Easter was very early last year and the sun was still a fair way south, it gave me the opportunity to catch the sunrise, which is just out of frame. This light only lasted for a short time and, with Mick loving his pre-dawn warm-ups, the elements all came together. A solid 4'-6' swell helped too.

"What I love about this shot, besides the light, is the track that Mick has left on the wave face and the spray coming off his fins as he drives out of his top turn.”

ANDREW MCKINNON