Last June’s Red Bull Cape Fear event, held at Ours in Sydney’s Cape Solander, felt like the surfy offspring of a monster truck rally and a WWE match. It’s a web spectator’s marvel. Each heat felt less like man vs. man, and more like man vs. wave, with a team of charging sadists facing off against a bellowing reef break that pitches surfers onto a craggy slab before detonating on top of them.
The waiting period for this year’s Cape Fear event kicked off today, and among the updates is the invitation of four ‘internationals’ – 2017 BWWT Champion Billy Kemper, 2015 BWWT Champion Makua Rothman, Taj Burrow, and Nathan Florence – to join the original 16 surfers, including defending champ Russell Bierke, from last June. Contest organizers have until August 31st to deliver the green light, which would ideally happen once storm activity over the Tasman Sea drives ESE groundswell to unload backwashed anvils onto the lineup.
"Last year's event was beyond my wildest imagination and I can hardly wait to see what Mother Nature throws up at Cape Solander this year,” said contest director Mark Mathews.” Having the 16 surfers from 2016 event and the additional four internationals will make for an unbelievable show."
A quick recap on the contest format: 20 surfers will compete in the single-day contest, with four surfers in the water at a time in five 40-minute heats. Scores are combined from a surfer’s highest paddle wave and his highest tow-in wave. The winner of each heat advances to the final. The second-place surfers from each heat will square off in a do-or-die round to earn the last Finals entry. The highest finals score wins. For an event that rolls out slab barrels like the unfurling of your last will, the rules are pretty straight-forward.
Here’s the full list of surfers invited to the contest:
Justen ‘Jughead’ Allport