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Ryan Hipwood survives a severe Shipstern space-flight

Ryan Hipwood : photo Rodd Owen //

Oakley/ASL Big Wave Awards 2006/07
No contest singlets … no ratings points…just one really big wave…

Australia & New Zealand
1 June '08 - 1 February '09

Surfer hurtles through space – on a 25-foot wave! - Sort of thing a surfer gets away with once. If he’s lucky.

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 November, 2008 : - - Ryan Hipwood, 23, of Queensland is one of the world’s most promising young big wave maestros. On this beautiful, big, scary day at Tasmania’s Shipstern Bluff, Ryan picked up this wave (pictured), hoping for the best. Ten seconds later, he was in mid-air – inside the wave’s colossal, living-room-sized mouth!

Ryan had rocketed off Shipstern’s notorious “step” – a vicious warp halfway down the wave, caused by the uneven reef below. “I saw the second step coming a mile away and thought ‘oh shit’ and I got really low to brace myself,” a stoked, yet shaken Ryan told Australia’s Surfing Life later. “I had so much speed that by the time I hit (the step) it launched me so far.”

The result? One of the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards’ most spectacular entries yet, which sees Ryan in the running to claim a share of the $30,000 in cash up for grabs this year.

Unbelievably it was Ryan’s first ever surf at the formidable break several hours’ drive, walk and boat trip south of Hobart in the Tasman National Park. He was “towed in” to the treacherous monster behind a jetski piloted by renowned Bra Boy Koby Abberton and the amazing ride was captured by Maroubra based photographer Rodd Owen.


       Ryan Hipwood 1 .......................                                             Ryan Hipwood 2 ....................

       Ryan Hipwood 3 .......................                                             Ryan Hipwood 4 ....................

All photos Rodd Owen //
Click images to zoom

If Ryan half expected to end up on the bare granite rocks facing the break, he was happily disappointed. “The wave doesn’t push you in towards the rocks that much, but there were a few scares,” he says. “On one big wipeout, I got the next one on the head and my board was pretty much on the rocks, so yeah, it was pretty close.”

He was modest when it came to wave size estimates, however. “When you’re on it, it’s kinda hard to judge how high it is. I don’t really know what the biggest wave is, I reckon once they get to a certain point they are just ‘big waves’.”

Click here for the complete image sequence and a full transcript of the interview with Ryan Hipwood

Stay tuned to for all the latest entries in the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards. With just under three months remaining in the competition period and a very active southern ocean making its presence felt from Western Australia to New Zealand, not to mention an impending cyclone season further north, the scene is set for another bar-pushing, precedent-setting Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.

The Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards is an ongoing challenge to reward the riders of the biggest waves in Australasian waters. It runs from June 1, 2008 to February 1, 2009 and culminates in an awards night at Bondi attracting surf stars, celebrities and all walks of media. 


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About Oakley
Oakley, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance sunglasses, prescription frames, goggles and technology-enabled eyewear that utilize the company’s High Definition Optics® (HDO®), a collective platform of patented technologies that offer unbeatable optical performance.  The company also produces technical and active apparel, footwear and accessories.  

About Morrison Media
Morrison Media is a unique and progressive publishing company. It’s been Morrison Media’s continued commitment to all areas of quality and service that has enabled the company to grow as it has since 1985 when it started with Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine.  Morrison Media is Australia’s leading independent action sports publisher with over ten titles across print, online and multimedia.

Related links:

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Event Coordinator: Mr Nick Carroll
Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards
Event Marketing & Sponsorship: Mr Nathan Dick
Morrison Media Pty Ltd

Oakley: Mr Seth Hulley
Oakley South Pacific

Event PR: Ms. Cassandra Murnieks

Big Wave - - Surfersvillage


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