A Stern Lesson For Bones
They reckon it was first surfed by the locals back in the 1980s, but nowadays there are regular pilgrimages by the world’s best big-wave riders to what is regarded as one of the heaviest breaks on the planet.
Tasmania’s Shipstern Bluff was once aptly known as Devil’s Point and if there was ever a journey closer to hell, one can only imagine that would come after wiping out on one of the monsters that pokes its head up when the Roaring 40s unleash in the Southern Ocean.
It takes gonads of steel just to paddle out in the shark-infested waters, let alone launch in to one of Mother Nature’s oceanic behemoths, but danger was the last thing on Bronte’s John ‘Bones’ Dwyer’s mind when he recently received an invitation from good mate Marti Paradisis to “come down and have a little surf”.
In 2009, Paradisis became the first surfer to win two Oakley/Surfing Life Big Wave Awards for his performances at Shipsterns and the then-newly discovered monster break at Pedra Branca, off southern Tasmania.
So who better to host Bones’ first foray into the biggest waves he has ever surfed?
“I was both nervous and excited and really didn’t know what to expect,” Bones said.
“The waves were between 10 to 15 foot and I was really lucky because the conditions were pretty close to perfect.
“But when Marti towed me into my first wave I did get smashed.
Bones admitted that he did break the rules.
“It’s local law that you have to paddle into your first wave before you can be towed in,” he said.
“Being with Marti probably helped relax the rules a little and I did eventually paddle in to one and, yeah… got smashed again.
“It was all worth it though, because the waves I made were truly the best ever and it was an unforgettable experience. I met all the locals and they were all top blokes and made me feel totally at ease.
“Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll were there too, getting footage for their next Storm Surfers doco, so it was just the best two days surfing. I guess you could say I was really spoilt.”
If you want to get a feel for the power of Shipstern Bluff and see some more shots of Bones in action, check out Marti Paradisis’ online journal ‘Moose On The Loose’ (www.mooseontheloose.com.au) and search for ‘Weekend of Stern’.
The website is an adventure in itself and full of great pics and stories.