Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
World’s best big wave surfers to gather at Tasmania’s daunting Shipstern Bluff.
Red Bull Cape Fear has been given the green light for 2019 with the world’s best big wave surfers gathering at Tasmania’s Shipstern Bluff on Monday May 13 to see who can come out on top of the sport’s most iconic event. Here is all you need to know:
– The unique invitation-only event will see 20 surfers such as Australian legend Mick Fanning and 2016 defending champion Russell Bierke take to the sea.
– They have a few days to make their way to Tasmania to compete alongside local stars culminating in a 30km boat ride or a two-hour hike to reach Shipstern Bluff.
– It is regarded as one of the wildest and most dangerous surf locations, thanks to waves of up to 10 metres/30 feet – equivalent to a four-storey building.
– One of the most notable characteristics of ‘Shippies’ is when a wave within a wave is created due to the shape of the reef bottom, causing several steps to emerge.
– The rest of the wave is a fast-paced barrel of up to 50 km/h – the weight in volume of water equivalent to 15 semi-trailers – making it a violent hold down.
– It is also welcoming to sea life such as seals, orcas and great white sharks with several sightings over the years, adding to the fear factor of this chilling coastline.
– Red Bull Cape Fear uses a unique, overlapping heat format with five surfers competing in four heats leading to the winner of each heat progressing to the final. Whether the heats are held as paddle only, tow only, or a combination, will be dependent on conditions.
– Australian founder Mark Mathews will be competing for the first time since a gruesome leg injury in 2016 saw him told that his big wave surfing career was over.
– The 36-year-old revealed: “I’m so excited that the event is on, but I’m also terrified at the same time! (Local competitor) Marti Paradisis has been making a lot of the calls on the swell and it looks big, offshore and in the 15-foot range. This means it won’t be too big to paddle, but will also offer up some tow waves. I think either way it’ll be crazy – it’s such a spectacular wave and there’ll be no shortage of entertainment.”
– Three-time world champion Fanning, 37, added: “Surfing a wave like Shipstern Bluff gives a sense of satisfaction and relief, 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. I’m going to relish the challenge.”
Red Bull Cape Fear by the numbers:
The 20 invited surfers include world champions, local Tasmanian chargers and world-class heavy-water specialists.
The triple-overhead waves will measure up to 20ft [6m] in height.
27 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water break over a shallow reef in a metre or two of water.
Waves break 10m in front of the Shipstern Bluff cliff.
Surfers will be towed in at speeds up to 50kph.
One of the most difficult waves in the world, it was first surfed in the early 2000s.
The 20 invited surfers at Red Bull Cape Fear are:
Russell Bierke (AUS)
Pedro ‘Scooby’ Vianna (BRA)
Daniel Griffiths (AUS)
Michael Brennan (AUS)
Mick Fanning (AUS)
Laurie Towner (AUS)
Shaun Wallbank (AUS)
Zebulon Critchlow (AUS)
Mark Mathews (AUS)
Ryan Hipwood (AUS)
James McKean (AUS)
Brook Phillips (AUS)
Justen ‘Jughead’ Allport (AUS)
Nathan Florence (USA)
James Hollmer-Cross (AUS)
Marti Paradisis (AUS)
Billy Kemper (USA)
Tyler Hollmer-Cross (AUS)
Alex Zawadzki (AUS)
Koa Rothman (USA)
Watch the Red Bull TV live broadcast HERE.