Shipstern’s Bluff – Tasmania
Shipstern’s Bluff is a right reef break off the coast of Tasmania. This massive wave is said to be capable of producing waves of the same size and power as Pipeline and Teahupoo. Shipstern’s Bluff starts off as a nice A frame before jumping into a barreling right with plenty of speed and push. Taking off at the peak of the A frame can seems somewhat scary, but it is definitely a lot safer than the alternative of getting pitched onto the reef by trying out the shoulder. The wave will give you a pretty lengthy ride of about 40 meters, and seeing as it is one of Australia’s heaviest waves, it will probably leave you with a great story to tell your friends. This break can hold a swell anywhere from four feet all the way past 20 feet. Some things to be aware of would include the sharp reef on the ocean floor, the fact that you’re four hours from the nearest hospital (one hour of that must be walked), and of course the white pointer sharks in the vicinity.
The closest airport is in Hobart. From there, make your way toward Marion Bay and ask some locals how to get to Shipstern’s Bluff from there. It’s not an easy access; about 45 minutes of it is walking through the Australian bush. It’s a beautiful sight, but a long journey none the less. On top of all the walking, you’re looking at about a 150-meter paddle or boat ride out to the break.
Swell & Weather Conditions
Shipstern’s Bluff is best during the southern hemisphere’s winter months. You’re going to want a medium to high tide to cover the reef below you, and a nice west or southwest swell will usually get this place going. Offshore or no winds are the best for this spot. The best swells come in the wintertime, which means cold water.
Considering the size and the power of the wave, you want to make sure to bring big boards. Anything under seven feet is probably not recommended. What is recommended is a nice full suit to keep you warm during the cold winter swell. Tow-in surfing is also done at this spot, so all of the typical equipment for that is necessary if you’re not planning on paddling in.
There are no contests that take place at Shipstern’s Bluff, but it is a likely place for a Billabong XXL surfer to take home a win in the near future.
Brief Travel Info
To get to Shipstern’s Bluff, you would most likely fly into the Hobart airport. From there, you would make your way to Marion Bay, the closest town to the break, which links Tasmania’s east coast with the Tasman Peninsula. There you can look for places to stay and eat.
A funny local news story on the Crocodile Hunter and surfing Shipstern’s Bluff: