Just two weeks before the cut-off date for the 2006 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, a handful of the world’s best surfers have battled monstrous surf off the Southern tip of Tasmania in Australia over the weekend.
With swells reaching 15-18 feet, a group of big wave adventurers including three times world champion Andy Irons, former world number two Joel Parkinson, young Australian charger Laurie Towner, Dylan Longbottom and Brendan Margieson towed and paddled into heaving caverns at Shipsterns Bluff, a rarely surfed isolated right hander named after the 100 ft. cliff which towers over the break.
The monumental session is set to cause a major shakeup for current contenders in both the Monster Tube and Monster Paddle in categories for the Billabong XXL awards which will be announced on the 14th of April in California.
With entries coming primarily from huge surf riders in Hawai‘i, Mexico, California and Tahiti, Australia will now be represented solidly after the session was captured on land and in the water by video and stills cameramen.
Irons, who is in Australia for the first leg of the professional world tour, was more than happy to join the crew for the one-day journey and proved his big wave expertise is applicable at any break, riding the twisting terrors with consummate ease. Irons, who had towed into heavy sessions both in Hawai‘i and last year’s huge surf at Teahupoo just prior to the Billabong Pro Tahiti, rates Shipsterns as one mean mother of a wave.
“Shipsterns is radical, it’s a really challenging wave, one of the toughest I have ever surfed,” said Irons.