Stab Magazine | Red Bull Cape Fear Is Headed To Shipstern’s

Red Bull Cape Fear Is Headed To Shipstern’s

This will be the first-ever event at Tasmania’s infamous aquatic staircase.

news // May 5, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you remember that time several surfers almost died in front our eyes, when the biggest Northeast swell in a decade slammed Australia’s eastern seaboard and pulled the winds vigorously offshore, thus provoking otherworldly conditions between coasts Sunny and South but specifically at a shallow water slab in the mouth of Botany Bay?

You remember Ours, don’t’cha?

The 2016 Red Bull Cape Fear event was the most riveting live surfing event of the past decade, bar-none. Watching it in real-time was universally gut-wrenching, as the viewer was made to think (and legitimately so) that a rider might literally die at any moment. The waves were so powerful, so inverted, and breaking so close to those goddamn rocks that a casket-bound surfer seemed inevitable.

Luckily, after two brutal days of competition, all the riders survived their Cape Fear lashings and only a few ended up in the hospital. A huge success for Red Bull, the athletes, and surf fans alike.

The only problem then became, how do you follow it up the following year? Well, despite having a four-month waiting period in 2017, the same type of swell never reared its head in the general Sydney vicinity, forcing Red Bull to cancel the event until the next season.

Now in 2018, Stab has been informed that Red Bull is pulling up its Sydney roots and taking the event waaaay down south, in fact all the way to Tasmania, where an even bigger, potentially meaner stair-stepping ledge had made its home.

Yes, we’re talking about Shipstern’s Bluff.

Included in this event will be the 2016 champion and recent BWT appointee Russell Bierke, the silent assassin Laurie Towner, one of the world’s best under-the-ledge surfers Ryan Hipwood, and a gaggle of local standouts. Perhaps most interestingly, we’ve heard whispers that the three-time World Champion Mick Fanning might also dip his toes into the frigid Tasman Sea.

Of course Mick visited Shippies once before in 2015 and apparently enjoyed his experience, but if paddling into three-story buildings where both the elevator and stairs are equally treacherous is Mick’s idea of retirement, then all the Fanning birthers can kick rocks – he’s definitely Australian.

The event window will likely be a few months long, allowing the organisers to wait for that perfect swell, which can be categorised by three main factors: size, cleanness, and angle.

Depending on conditions, the event will feature either paddling, towing, or both – as we saw in the 2016 event.

This will be the first-ever competition at the notorious Tasmanian slab, which due to its remote location (either a 2-hour hike or extensive boat ride is necessary to reach the break, plus it’s in Tasmania!) will likely have very few first-person viewers, but the whole thing will be broadcast live for the world to see.

And while we’re somewhat saddened to lose the spectacle of Cape Fear (AKA Ours), we couldn’t be more excited for the world’s stair-stepping specialists to attack Shippies on the day of the year, in the heat of competition no less.

We’ll feed more info on dates and participants when that information becomes available.


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