Senior Gear Editor

The Inertia

Following a year off after the pandemic turned normal life upside down, the insane bravery and total carnage that is Red Bull Cape Fear will return in 2021, albeit with a few changes. This year, the normal list of invite-only big wave chargers from around the world heading to Shipstern Bluff will be culled by a single criteria – Australian citizenship, disqualifying 2019 Cape Fear champ Nate Florence before he even reached the elimination round. The list of all-Australian big wave surfers will include an off-tour Mick Fanning, as well as the first women to compete at Shipstern Bluff, a team of chargers that includes former CT-er Laura Enever and up-and-coming ripper Lizzie Stokely.

“When I left the World Tour to venture into big wave surfing, my eyes were opened to what it takes physically and mentally to surf the heaviest waves around. Shipstern Bluff truly embodies that challenge,” says Enever.

The competition window will be open from today until August, and competitors will have to be ready to drop everything to get down to Tasmania when the event is declared on.

Big wave surfer and competition founder Mark Mathews can’t wait: “Red Bull Cape Fear is an event big wave surfers across the globe keep an eye out for, and Shipstern Bluff is known for taking no prisoners,” he says.

mark mathews surfing shipstern bluff cape fear

Mark Mathews navigates the step Photo: Andrew Chisholm/Red Bull Content Pool

‘Shippies’ is a treacherous wave located in the south of Tasmania, where it is exposed to hammering swells coming from low-pressure systems generated near the South Pole. One of the heaviest slabs in the world, Shippies is the complete hellman’s package, with cold water, sharks, and a shallow reef that causes unpredictable mutations in the wave face known as “The Steps.”

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