Stab Magazine | A Fish under the Ship
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A Fish under the Ship

Paul Fisher surfed Shipsterns, in Tasmania, for the first time yesterday. He was terrified, but as is his way, spent the whole time laughing, shit-talking and cracking jokes. You may know Paul from his website, Follow The Fish, where he regularly posts hilarious clips. Fisher doesn’t take life, himself, or the surfing industry seriously. You may, […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Paul Fisher surfed Shipsterns, in Tasmania, for the first time yesterday. He was terrified, but as is his way, spent the whole time laughing, shit-talking and cracking jokes. You may know Paul from his website, Follow The Fish, where he regularly posts hilarious clips. Fisher doesn’t take life, himself, or the surfing industry seriously. You may, in turn, know Shipsterns from the video parts of any self-respecting big-wave surfer. It’s the spot with the two or three steps in it, five snarling lips and a treacherous cliff waiting to claim teeth, skin and foam.

As has been the trend of late, the session yesterday was mostly paddling. There was 10-foot bomb sets, which were the only waves being towed-into. Apart from big-wave dudes Mark Mathews and Ryan Hipwood, Paul’s crew were grossly under-equipped. But that didn’t stop ’em. When Stab called the Fish, he was still in Tasmania, waiting for his flight at the airport. Fish uses the word “Fucken” in between most words, and often to fill gaps in conversation. It makes his conversation more funny in person, but in the interest of clarity, we’ve culled the cursing down 95 percent here.

Stab: What was your first impression of the place?
Paul Fisher: Well, we got there at about six in the morning and it was just eerie as all-fuck. The wave’s actually shorter than I thought it was and way closer to the rocks than what I thought it was. Hippo told me to pretty much just jump straight off the boat and get straight out there, otherwise if I kept sitting there I would never go out, just keep sitting there looking at it. So I kinda just jumped in when it was still dark, and sat and watched a few. Eventually, Mark called me into a bomb and I didn’t really figure out that step. You look at the step and go, “Oh yeah, I could do that,” but once you’re in the water actually having a crack at it, it’s a bit of a different story. It’s actually a lot harder when you’re on it (laughs). Especially paddling-in. So first wave, I hit the first step, turned on the second step, kinda caught a rail and had to go straight, and the lip just fucken, absolutely pulverised me. So I got that one, then grabbed onto the rope for one, pulled in too early and went over the falls. I pretty much got five waves where I got absolutely pumped.

Mark Mathews told me you were pretty pumped the night before… (Laughing) I had Hippo’s tow-board on the bed, pissed-as, and I was strapped-in, fully nude, writing-off, going “Yeah, Shippies! Shippies!” I was on the tow-board (in the bedroom) going, “Here comes the step!”, and as I jumped I slipped and went head-first over the bed. It was a sick psych-up session, then we just started making jokes about it the next day before I went out there, y’know? Just trying to write-off.

So do you joke and laugh about it to make it easier? Does it work? I’m not really gonna change that much. I was just out there making jokes and all that, and I think it does make it a lot easier, y’know? I’ve been to some places where it’s just dead quiet, and it’s not the same vibe. Matthews and hippo are pretty relaxed and that makes it easier. Just talking shit and calling each other into waves is way better. Matthews made it hilarious, he was trying to call me into the worst waves he possibly could find out there. Then there was good old Hippo on the ski. I think the main purpose of me going down there was for those boys to laugh. Every time they called someone to tell ’em I was going down to Shippies, they just cracked up. I didn’t even make a wave, I think they just wanted me to eat shit. It was classic, ’cause I went down there to make waves but those guys took me down there to get hammered.

Who was out there? Hippo, Mathews, the Gudauskas brothers, Dylan Graves, and John-John (Florence)’s brother, Nathan. That was pretty much our little gang. It was hilarious ’cause the Gudang brothers hadn’t surfed it before either, and we all had the worst equipment. None of us were prepared – Mark Mathews had all the gear and everyone else borrowed shit. The Gudangs went to a surf shop the night before and bought like, a single-fin Dick Brewer. We were all in 2mm wetties, comp-chord leggies, 6’8” boards that were seven years old… it was just hilarious, everyone had the worst shit you’ve ever seen. We were all just sliding out, one guy had like, a 6’6” and the thing looked like it was fucken skating on ice. He looked like he had FCS grom fins. It was fucking classic. Dane Gudauskas’ first wave, he went over the falls, snapped his leash and his board washed into the rocks. It was pretty rad, if I was there on my own with all that shit gear… it was cool ’cause everyone was in the same boat, y’know?

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