The inaugural Red Bull Cape Fear surfing event took place this summer in Sydney’s unforgiving Botany Bay, with 16 of the planet’s best big wave surfers having their way with four-to-six foot sets over one of the world’s deadliest reefs. On the very last day of the official waiting period, the wave came to life to make an event two-years-in-the-making possible, with no shortage of barrels or wipeouts.
Video by Red Bull
Ryan Hipwood and Jamie O’Brien are two renowned tube trackers who faced off for the first ever Red Bull Cape Fear battle, and they didn’t disappoint. Both surfers powered through dredging deep tubes, but it was Hipwood who snared the longer, deeper tube and scored the nod from the judges, the prestigious Battle win and the award for Best Barrel of the day.
“This event has been a massive roller coaster ride,” said Hipwood. “I’ve been planning on doing something like this for six or seven years and for it now to be finish is a massive weight off my shoulders. I’m really stoked with the event and that all these international surfers came. Hopefully this is the beginning of a lot of exciting events to come.”
Battle 2 with Mark Mathews (AUS) defeating Shane Dorian (HAW) was the battle of the event. Dorian is one of surfing’s journeymen after going from chasing the World Tour alongside Kelly Slater, to now spending his days catching the world’s biggest and deadliest waves. Mathews is the brains behind Red Bull Cape Fear and Australia’s most renowned big wave surfer — the stage was set for a clash of the titans. Both surfers found similar scoring rides and the heat had them finishing within fractions of a point and it was the Cape Fear’s own Mark Mathews that took the narrow win.
“This has been a day I’ll never forget, I got to surf at one of my favorite spots, against who I believe is the greatest big wave surfer of all time — Shane Dorian,” said Mathews. “I’m really happy with this event, the surf is not big enough to tow, but still one of the best days of the year out there and everyone has been going for it.”
Eight winners were crowned from their respective one-on-one bouts, with locals Laurie Towner, Richie Vaculik, Kirk Flintoff, Koby Abberton and Jesse Polock also claiming victories. An untouchable Dean Morrison rounded out the winners’ list to ensure an Australian clean-sweep against their US and Hawaiian counterparts.
Battle 1 – Ryan Hipwood (AUS) DEFEATED Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Battle 2 – Mark Mathews (AUS) DEFEATED Shane Dorian (HAW)
Battle 3 – Laurie Towner (AUS) DEFEATED David Rastovich (NZL)
Battle 4 – Koby Abberton (AUS) DEFEATED Bruce Irons (HAW)
Battle 5 – Dean Morrison (AUS) DEFEATED Ian Walsh (HAW)
Battle 6 – Richie Vaculik (AUS) DEFEATED Evan Faulks (AUS)
Battle 7 – Kirk Flintoff (AUS) DEFEATED Jai Abberton (AUS)
Battle 8 – Jesse Polock (AUS) DEFEATED Sam Macintosh (AUS)