Stab Magazine | Is It Possible For Cape Fear To Live Up To Our New Expectation?

Is It Possible For Cape Fear To Live Up To Our New Expectation?

Taj Burrow tosses his hat into the lunatic convention.

news // May 2, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

No event in surfing’s history descended hearts on stomachs the way Cape Fear did in 2016. It bordered life and death. On site, where we had staff present, the sentiment was more terror than thrill. At each wipeout, the crowd held their breath. Their cheers and gasps worked on a conveyor of silence, bewilderment and relief. Due to what the event coordinator, Mark Mathews told Stab was a “one-in-10-year swell,” the contest ended in the prevailing consensus of hey, at least nobody died.

On a global scale, it was the new bar for big wave surfing. It was heavy, hollow, dark, electric and for viewers, satisfied the sentiment that there’s nothing compelling about a 20-foot wave that doesn’t barrel. The event surpassed that of Jaws in 2015, The Eddie of 2016, or the most recent event at Nazarè. All while highlighting the working man characteristic of big wave communities (on account of the WSL banning their competitors from competing in non-sanctioned events). Big wave surfers in the industry are the lowest paid, most under appreciated and brave the highest consequence because anyone can conceive the dangers of cascading water mountains, but nobody is ready to slide their plastic for a signature line of G-Mac anything.

Today, the waiting period for Cape Fear kicked off (May 1 – August 31, 2017). The question remains, after last year, is it possible for Ours to quench our ancient Roman expectation? Just as the BWT comp at Pe’ahi last year–while still critical, and toward the end turned into the event we’d hoped for–after 2015, didn’t have the same wow factor. Save the girls giving it a go – that was historic in its own sense. Regardless, we’ve reached the new normal for big wave surfing; one that’s simultaneously relatable and implausible by mortal fear. 

This year, the Cape Fear invitee list includes our favourite recent CT-retiree, Taj Burrow. Also, there are fewer cross-overs of WSL Big Wave Tour competitors than last year’s lineup, however, Makua Rothman and Billy Kemper are included in the group of 20. Will they challenge the WSL’s rulebook and compete, or open the door for Mark Mathew’s underground friends of a year’s past?

The invitees:
Andrew Mooney
Blake Thornton
Billy Kemper
Dean Morrison
Evan Faulks
Jai Abberton
James Adams
Jesse Pollock
Justen Allport
Kirk Flintoff
Koby Abberton
Laurie Towner
Makua Rothman
Nathan Florence
Perth Standlick
Richie Vaculik
Riley Laing
Russell Bierke
Ryan Hipwood
Taj Burrow


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