Bells Beach: 1981 Perfection

The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach was and still is one of the most prestigious events on the world tour circuit. It separates the men from the boys and magnifies a surfer’s strengths and flaws from every angle (especially from up on the cliff). The list of winners at Bells are a who’s who of surfing history and include Michael Peterson, Mark Richards, Simon Anderson, Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Damien Hardman, Potter, Lynch, Occy, Kelly, Sunny, Dorian, Fanning, Joel, Taj, AI. They all share one thing in common: exceptional technique and a flair for dissecting long right-hand walls.

1981 was a special year for surfing.

In 1981 Bells Beach really came to life, dawn’s light revealing some of the biggest, most perfect right-hand waves ever seen in surfing competition. This was a catalytic time in surfing history: Shaun Tomson and others riding single fins, MR and co on twinnies and Simon Anderson introducing the thruster.

Mark Richards said, “there was this frenzy in the carpark – holy shit is this real or am I dreaming?”

The smooth arcs Simon drew on everything from monster walls to tiny runners on the final day proved his design in the most convincing of arenas. Lest it be overlooked, Simon’s surfing is pretty incredible with or without a tail fin.

  1. Hello does anyone know where I can buy the movie/doco/DVD from for Bells Beach 81 My dad wants it but I cant find a copy anywhere

    1. Fairly late, but I still have DVDs of the video I made that year called “All Time Bell’s”. It includes footage of the largest waves ever filmed at Bell’s. The title came from Doug Warbrick who stood on the cliff and said “This is ALL TIME”. In 1966 when I was helping promote the contest with the ASA as well as producing the first printed program for the constest in the years before Rip Curl sponcership, I had the idea and created the FIRST “BELL” trophies with the help of Rod Brooks with the woodwork and I went into Melbourne and bought the three bronze ships bells (1st, 2nd, 3rd) Colin.

      1. Hi Colin.
        I’ve been trying to get hold of a copy of a video I saw soon after the Bells 81 comp, highlighting the big Saturday, but have never had any luck. This is the first time I’ve even seen a name for the film.
        Interestingly, it came up on Tim Bonython’s website, saying he took his footage of the event and made it into the file “All Time Bells” which he took on the road showing it around the country. Is that a different film, or is there some confusion of facts, or a copyright issue?
        Anyway, is there any way I can get a copy of the film on DVD?

        1. Hi Greg C,
          just wondering if you could help me please? I too have been trying to find direct contact (please see my comment on this forum 2 months ago) with Colin Turner so I can purchase a legitimate DVD of his “All time Bells 1981” documentary. Were you able to source this? Many thanks in advance for any assistance. Kind regards,
          Geoff K

      2. Hi Colin

        One of our surfboard customer is chasing a copy of this DVD “All Time Bells 1981”, and maybe Simon would also be interested.
        Could you please let us know if you can source any copies & the cost etc?

        Thanks, cheer Sharon
        Simon Anderson Surfboards

        Facebook: Simon Boards

        Instagram: simonanderson_surfboards

      3. Hi Colin,
        I was referred to this link via Simon Anderson. I hope you are well.
        I’m looking to buy please a dvd of the “All time Bells 1981” documentary that you made. Can you please advise how to proceed. Many thanks in advance. Kind regards, Geoff Keogh, Victoria, phone 0414 891388

    2. Hi Ellen, just wondering if you can help me please? I too have been trying to make direct contact with Colin Turner (please see my comment on this forum 2 months ago) so I can purchase a legitimate DVD of his “All time Bells 1981” documentary. Were you able to source this? Many thanks in advance for your kind help. Kind regards, Geoff K

  2. Hi to Geoff Keogh and other interested parties,
    In 1971 I made the first movie of the Bells Beach contest called “ECSTASY” and the final sequence of Wayne Lynch and John Law was filmed on Saturday 24 April 1971. In 1981 I produced “ALL TIME BELLS” and I was lucky enough to capture the legendary giant surf that year. This was the only professional footage taken in 1981 and claims by others to have made “All Time Bells” are false. In 1982 I then produced “THE LEGEND OF BELLS” which covered much of the history of the Bells Beach contest with narration from many of the original Torquay surfing legends of the era. My involvement in surfing began in the early 1960s and I screened many of the early surfing movies. I also helped with the formation of the ASA (Australian Surfriders Association) and the organisation of the contest.
    In the late 1960s I had the idea of a “BELL” as a trophy and I went to a shipwright in Flinders St extension and bought the first three Bronze Bells and with the help of Rod Brooks I made the original trophies. The great Bells trophies in later years are made by Joe Sweeny at Torquay one of the original legends of Bells Beach.
    I am now planning to re-release all three movies in 2015 for $29.95 each or $39.95 for any two or $49.95 for all three. (Less than $17.00) each
    I can be contacted direct on 0433 877 766

    1. Fantastic to hear from you Colin.
      Many thanks for your call and update.
      As discussed please put me down for the full set of 3 historical movies on new dvd format. Please let me know in due course how to order and pay etc.
      Meanwhile there is also a thread on this forum where Sharon from Simon Anderson surfboards is also interested in the All time Bells movie.
      Meanwhile thanks again and God bless you,
      kind regards,

    2. Hi Colin,
      Great to read your story on your personal involvement plus that of the others associated with the history of Bells.
      We’re definitely keen to watch your DVD series, will contact you direct to organise purchase…
      Thanks, cheers Sharon

      1. My three surfing DVDs are now available. “ECSTASY” 1971, “ALL TIME BELLS” 1981 and “THE LEGEND OF BELLS” 1982. I can be contacted at 0433877766 direct or [email protected]. At the moment a simple bank transfer is required. The discs will be posted by registered mail upon the deposit of the funds.I will soon set up an ebay account.
        All three DVDs are just $59.95 plus $4.00 postage to anywhere in Australia.

  3. I am pleased to announce that the release of my three movies on DVD is only weeks away. “ECSTASY” 1971 with a great final sequence, “ALL TIME BELLS” 1981 capturing the largest waves ever captured at Bells Beach, and “THE LEGEND OF BELLS” covering the history of Bells and the original legends who discovered Bells and their comments on the early days.
    I can be contacted direct at [email protected] or 0433 877 766. Colin Turner.

  4. I can now announce that all three DVDs of my three movies, “Ecstasy” in 1971 with a sensational final sequence of Wayne Lynch and John Law surfing 15′ waves on Saturday 24th April 1971, “All Time Bells” in 1981 capturing the largest surf ever filmed at the RipCurl Easter contest with nearly every ride during the contest and the final presentation at Bells Beach. And finally “The Legend of Bells” in 1982 with all of the original legends commenting on the very beginning of what is now the worlds longest running surfing contest.
    As the original footage is the standard available over 30 and 40 years ago you cannot expect the Hi Definition available today and now and then some can notice some slight imperfections in the footage.
    “Ecstasy”, “All time Bells” and “The Legend of Bells” will be available on DVD before the end of August 2015. They can be ordered by contacting the producer direct at [email protected] or Mobile 0433 877 766
    Due to some confusion Tim Bonython has made some claims about producing and showing “All Time Bells”. These claims are false and I have NEVER given anyone permission to screen my footage or use the copyright name “All Time Bells”The revised cost of the DVDs is $29.99 each or all three of these historic flicks for $59.95 plus $4.00 registered postage to anywhere in Australia.
    Colin Turner

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *