Want to test your mettle by riding the most dangerous and thrilling waves a surfer can conquer? Then head to Shipstern Bluff for bone-tingling, fright-inducing monster waves that only an expert surfer can ride. In shark-infested waters, surfers come to prove their prowess over walls of devastating water that crash into rock cliffs off the coast of Tasmania.
The crushing force of unrelenting sea brings the ultimate challenge to the boldest of surf enthusiasts at Shipstern Bluff. The formerly named Devil’s Point, on the southern coastal tip of Tasmania, is an intimidating experience suitable for only the best and most adventurous wave riders. It rates a 10 on the Richter scale of the most dangerous surfing experiences in the world.
If you’re lucky and the weather is cooperative, you just might be able to surf the raging bull of Shipstern Bluff without crashing into the stone promontories that loom at the finish under the sheer cliffs, and without encountering a Great White. No joke. These waters are infested with menacing sharks. If you dare to surf at Shipstern Bluff, they are another obstacle to contend with, in addition to the angriest waves around.
The waves don’t break here. They roll like thunderous clouds with a complex bathymetry (water depth measurement) and they morph like no other. Sometimes referred to as mutants, these waves can reach over six-metres high, with an unpredictable bend into a steep line off the rocks, as the roaring water hugs the sea floor, just before you look down the barrel of its huge, gaping mouth.
This is certainly not for novices. Shipstern Bluff is reserved for either observers to marvel at the skill and fearlessness of surfers who come from all over the world to brave the beast, or for mega thrill-seeking wave riders who dare to meet these iconic waves head on. Go to watch their feats of brave abandon, or if you are a surfer yourself, add this gruelling experience to your bucket list.
March to September is the optimal timeframe to watch the best surfers tackle the thickest of waves at Shipstern Bluff.
Shipstern Bluff is on the southeastern coast of Tasmania, where clouds and chilly water from winds reach up from the South Pole to make for unpredictable conditions.
Fly into Hobart, take the road south to Port Arthur for about 1.5 hours, and follow the signage to Cape Raoul National Park. There, you will have to hike 2 hours along a scenic pathway to get to Shipstern Bluff.
Only serious watermen need to make the trek to Shipstern Bluff, as some of the best surfers on the planet go to bond with (or be broken by) the highest-rated, thickest-wave experience in the world. The crowd is made up of friendly souls, as is the Tassie way, but do be respectful of the locals.
Never just drop in on the chargers. Also, if you are going to be one of those brave chargers yourself, you should be ready with an evacuation strategy for emergencies, a wetsuit, your safety vest, and semi-gun. Because getting there requires a long walk in and out of the area, be sure to stock up on food and drinks for your hike and plan to stay, as there are no provisions in this remote location.