Red Bull Cape Fear, the invitation-only surf comp which sees some of the world’s best pitted against locals from the most dangerous locations to hang ten in the world, has been called for Monday. To be held at Tasmania’s notorious Shipstern Bluff (a huge wave in a remote location), 20 surfers from over the world have been given 72 hours to be there or be square (surfers hate that), and, once again, it looks set to be an absolute ripper.
Australia’s own Mick Fanning will lead the pack, up against the event’s founder Mark Mathews, who is returning to the waves as a pro for the first time since 2016, when he was told an injury ended his career. The surf itself sees triple-overhead waves up to 20 feet high breaking over a shallow reef, just 10 metres from the rocks of Shipstern Bluff. Other competitors include Brazil’s Pedro Scooby, defending champion Russell Bierke, and the USA’s Nathan Florence, as well as a bevy of Tasmanian surfers who are used to the treacherous spot.
Shipstern Bluff is one of the most dangerous waves in the world, with surfers being towed in at speeds of 50 kilometres an hour. It’s ridiculously remote, too, with either a 30-kilometre boat ride, or hours-long hike to find the elusive wave. It was only first surfed in the early 2000s, but has been the location of Cape Fear before.
“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,” says three-time WSL World Champion winning Fanning.
“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 and I’m going to relish the challenge.”
As is the case every year, no spectators will be allowed (none could even get there safely), but the entire event will be streamed at Red Bull TV.