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Stepping Into Shipsterns

15 May 2016 | Photo Stories, | by Volte Wetsuits

As one of Australia’s premiere waves, Shipterns Bluff has earned a hefty reputation over the years. Since being discovered roughly two decades ago, ‘Shippies’ has produced plenty of incredible sessions, becoming a proving ground for local and overseas talent along the way.

Brad Norris recently visited Tasmania for the first time, embarking on a last minute trip to meet an early-season swell. Not known for a cautious approach in the surf, Brad has made a name for himself charging some of the most intimidating waves on the planet. We caught up with him to see how he fared and how Shippies compares to the other waves he has surfed.

Captions by Brad Norris, photography by Ed Sloane, Andrew Chisholm and Geoff Swan.

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The landscape at Shippies looks big in photos but in real life everything is a lot bigger than you’d think. The rock jump-off is so sketchy too, I saw a guy standing there waiting to time it right for probably an hour and a half. The local boys were saying a lot of guys have been cleaned up doing it.

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That’s Zeb Critchlow claiming a wave during the good paddle session we had. That one was right on the border of being able to paddle into. There were a few of those that we just sat and watched on the day.

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That was my first wave and I didn’t even notice the step until I was right on top of it. I was taking more of a high line and then it appeared out of nowhere. In terms of waves you can get out there it’s not a really big one but my board felt good and the landing was smooth.

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I mainly hung out with Mikey Brennan and Tyler Hollmer Cross over there at Shippies. They’re all so close down there, everyone is good mates out in the lineup and the vibe in the water is epic.

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The swell was a little bit suss, the boys said it probably would be more paddle sized than tow in, so I packed one tow board and a bunch of paddle ones. I got into this one pretty late and just scooped under the lip. It made my trip because I really wanted to paddle a few over there.

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We got two days of waves, probably about 10 hours of surfing all up. The sun sets behind the wave and even if it’s a bit windy, once the wave hits the reef it fully cleans up.

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It was cold over there, it wasn’t absolutely freezing but the day I got there was the first day of snow they had this year. I wore a hooded 5/4 with booties over there and I was pretty warm in the water.

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There’s a lot of variety of waves over there, the last day I was there we went and surfed this beachy and had heaps of fun. It feels like you’re surfing in a river not the ocean because there is so much landscape surrounding you in the water. I’ll definitely be back over there soon.