Surfing

Take a look at the insane mechanics behind Shipstern Bluff

© Stu Gibson / Andy Chiza
By Chris Binns
The Southern Hemisphere’s most notorious surfing slab is hosting this year’s Red Bull Cape Fear, so watch this video to get acquainted with how Tasmania's Shipstern Bluff keeps on motoring.
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After running one of the craziest surfing events the world has ever seen in 2016, Mark Mathews and his crew decided to ramp things up further for the latest instalment of Red Bull Cape Fear. After tackling Cape Solander in Sydney, Australia, in the midst of a 50-year-storm last time around, this time the field of invited stars and local talent will be squaring off at Shipstern Bluff off the coast of the Australian island state of Tasmania.
The ’Stern’ is a wave like no other. From the infamous step to the cliffs where it breaks and the cold water and rogue wildlife, there’s no shortage of vicious variables at the Southern Hemisphere’s most famous slab.
Mick Fanning is just one of the surfers who've been invited to take on the challenge. “Surfing a wave like Shipstern Bluff gives a sense of satisfaction and relief,” says the three-time world champion. ”But it’s a whole different ball game in an event like Red Bull Cape Fear. Last time the event ran, I watched every second. I was in awe of the athletes and their performances. To test myself against the ocean, but also against my favourite big wave surfers, will be a real honour and I’m going to relish the challenge.”
The event will use a unique overlapping heat format. There'll be four five-man heats, and the winner of each heat will progress straight to the final. The highest-placed surfer at the end of the final will be crowned the Red Bull Cape Fear Champion for 2018.
But should things go wrong in your pursuit of Southern Ocean glory, there's little comfort to be taken from the 90-minute boat ride or three-hour-plus drive and hike needed to get from Shipstern Bluff to Hobart, which is the capital of Tasmania. This is truly a wild wave for wild people.
You know the event is back, and you know that three-time world champion Mick Fanning will be taking on a a full strength field of Tasmaniacs, but what exactly do you know about the slab itself?
The video at the top of this page details the specifics of the heaviest wave south of the Pacific. From the weight of water to the pressure of the poundings, we're bringing you the Shipstern stat sheet you need to see. You'll love this edit if you like heavy waves, so enjoy the ride now.