World champion surfer Mick Fanning takes the drop
© Adam Gibson
Surfing

The Secrets of Shipstern Bluff

8 little known facts about the new site for Red Bull Cape Fear 2018.
By Mimi LaMontagne
4 min readPublished on
Part of this story

Red Bull Cape Fear

The world’s most extreme surfing event comes to …

Red Bull Cape Fear 2019

Red Bull Cape Fear will be LIVE Monday 13 May …

Australia

Mick Fanning

3x World Champion Mick Fanning has fought injury, …

AustraliaAustralia
Shipstern Bluff isn’t a very well known wave in the scheme of well-known waves. It doesn’t have the same coverage as Teahupo’o, the hype of Cloudbreak, the media of Mavericks and the crowd of The Right. Even though it’s been surfed since the early 2000s, and documented ever since, it’s still a relatively underground spot in the surfing and mainstream world.
This year, Red Bull Cape Fear has decided to finally show the world – in live broadcast form – just how crazy this wave is, and just how courageous those who surf it really are…
To prep you for the showdown (waiting period from Aug 1 – Dec 31, 2018), we’ve decided to give you a bit of a rundown. Little-known facts and locals-only myths…
Surfing · 2 min
The science of the Red Bull Cape Fear wave

1. No one has died surfing Shipstern Bluff

Contrary to what you’d think when you look at the wave, no one has ever died at Shipstern Bluff. There have been broken bones, punctured lungs, split skulls and more – but never a death.

2. The wave was originally thought of as just a myth

Before Shipstern was actually surfed locals knew it existed, but it was more of a myth. Not many crew had the guts to hike out through the National Park (now a frequented tourist trail)… and it was relatively unknown. Part of that is also due to the fact you have to drive through Port Arthur to get to the trail… a facet of the journey to Shipstern that locals say adds to the eeriness of the wave.
Russell Bierke at Shipstern Bluff
Russell Bierke at Shipstern Bluff

3. The first person to surf it was a Kiwi

David Guiney was a New Zealand surfer who first laid claim to surfing Shipstern Bluff circa 2000, but the first man who really brought it into the limelight and dominated Shipstern was Andy Campbell, who now lives in Bali. This was in the early 2000s. There are still a number of older guys who surf the wave, some around 40-years-of-age. This group includes Red Bull Cape Fear surfer Zeb Critchlow and expression session surfer Dustin Hollick.
Laura tucked into an absolute monster
Laura tucked into an absolute monster

4. There is a history of women charging here

Three women have surfed the wave… local Tasmanian surfer Dara Penfold was the first, followed by the 18-year-old local Lizzie Stokely. However ex-World Tour competitor Laura Enever made history by surfing a huge swell earlier this year – by far the largest a female has ever surfed the wave.

5. The youngest person to surf Shipstern is Riley Laing

Australian surfer Riley Laing surfed the wave at the age of 13, becoming the youngest surfer to ever charge Shipstern. Before Riley it was local surfer Kelly Nordstrom who was the youngest, who surfed it when he was 14.

6. Sammy the Seal

There is a seal that frequents the lineup at Shipstern and hangs around the boat with the local boys. He has been dubbed “Sammy the Seal” and he is almost always in the lineup. Occasionally he surfs waves.

7. Orcas have been known to roll through the line up

There is a seal that frequents the lineup at Shipstern and hangs around the boat with the local boys. He has been dubbed “Sammy the Seal” and he is almost always in the lineup. Occasionally he surfs waves.

8. The cliff face was remodelled a few years ago

Half of the famed cliff at Shipstern Bluff fell down just two years ago. There was a large landslide and 100s of giant boulders crumbled. No one was on the hill at the time but it was the day before a swell. The local crew came up towards the cliff at first light and saw that it looked different – when they got closer they realised just how lucky they were that it had crumbled the day before.
And that’s just the beginning. Shipstern Bluff is full of secrets, myths and a rich history. Red Bull Cape Fear is about to bring it into the light.
Part of this story

Red Bull Cape Fear

The world’s most extreme surfing event comes to …

Red Bull Cape Fear 2019

Red Bull Cape Fear will be LIVE Monday 13 May …

Australia

Mick Fanning

3x World Champion Mick Fanning has fought injury, …

AustraliaAustralia