Red Bull Cape Fear called on, and everything you need to know
Red Bull Cape Fear has been given the green light to run this weekend with only days remaining in the waiting period. Yeah! An ESE swell heads for Sydney and invitees fly into Kingsford Smith Airport as you read! It’s the event that’s been in the pipeline for years, with masterminds Mark Mathews and Ryan Hipwood seeing their […]
Red Bull Cape Fear has been given the green light to run this weekend with only days remaining in the waiting period. Yeah! An ESE swell heads for Sydney and invitees fly into Kingsford Smith Airport as you read!
It’s the event that’s been in the pipeline for years, with masterminds Mark Mathews and Ryan Hipwood seeing their Frankenstein come to life this Sunday (Saturday US time). Doubling as the event director, Mark has spent more time in the lineup than anyone. He knows the conditions so well he can look at Maroubra and know exactly what the Cape will be doing. Hippo is the best non-local. But that could all change this weekend.
The pair have always believed heavy waves housed the best competition. Some would disagree. But then Teahupoo happened. The Billabong Pro, Tahiti was the best contest in surfing history and did a lot to satisfy our need for waves of consequence in competition. But we’ve never seen anything like this before. Sure, it won’t be as big, but there’s no cliff where you fall off in French Polynesia. Cape Fear holds just as much power as Chopes, Puerto, even Pipe and on any swell it’s not uncommon to see in excess of 20 broken boards.
Photo: Bill Morris
Internationals Bruce Irons, Jamie O’Brien and Makua Rothman have all confirmed their places in the boxing-card style format. Ian Walsh is racing from a project in Africa to compete and Shane Dorian has already said he will not be attending. Expect a handful of local wildcards, too.
There’s two disciplines: tow-in and paddle. Towing is technical at Ours. The turbulence of the ocean can swirl under the ski and it can be difficult to get out of a wave’s way. Keep an eye out for Mathews’ knowledge as a deciding factor here – for his partner, at least. Paddling… well, you’ve seen how it breaks. Head down and hope.
Cape Solander is a break of specifics. Swell direction, wind and size all need to be cohesive for it to work. ESE is the ideal direction. If it’s too north or too east, the backwash is worst and will roll up the face. If it’s too south the wave pinches on the end because it bends back out to sea.
There is a main ledge right in front of the takeoff. The best waves are the ones that look like closeouts; all wall, no exit. The heat winners often won’t feature a very difficult drop because of the way they swing into the slab. They have a swirl to let you in that develops on a boil, and a slight backwash can enhance the barrel considerably. There is a back-up venue called Middles that is less fickle, attracts more swell and can handle an onshore wind.
If you think big waves, you think big boards. Not the case at the Cape. Shortboards work best, even a step down with lots of volume and plenty of glass. If your equipment is too long it’ll catch an outside edge on a late takeoff.
So, here’s some of the match-ups Stab‘s predicting:
Mark Mathews vs Jamie O’Brien
Bruce Irons vs Koby Abberton
Rasta vs Laurie Towner
Ryan Hipwood vs Ian Walsh
The competitors would love nothing more than to take off under a Solander lip to the cheers of thousands but unfortunately the event is closed off to the public because of national park regulations. So, head to the contest’s portal to stream the event. You won’t wanna miss this one.
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