Monster Waves Delay ‘Cape Fear’ Surf Comp, Injure One

Mountainous swells, reportedly 20-feet high, hammered the rocky coastline of Sydney, Australia, late Sunday as a raging Pacific storm proved too extreme even for the aptly named Red Bull Cape Fear surf competition.

Justin Allport (Aus) surfing Cape Fear 6 Jun 2016
Justin Allport (Aus) surfing Cape Fear 6 Jun 2016. Allport would suffer non-life-threatening injuries later in the event.

Heavy waves consistently topped a dozen feet throughout the day at Cape Solander along the southeast corner of Australia, which forms a dramatic, rocky ledge that hurtles walls of water toward shore – offering infamously gnarly surf breaks.

According to local news outlets, most competitors in the 16-surfer tournament were bested by the titanic swell, with one rider, Justen Allport, being hospitalized after suffering a neck injury and facial laceration.

Allport is reportedly in stable condition. No other riders suffered serious injuries.

Russell Bierke competes during the the Red Bull Cape Fear
Russell Bierke competes during the the Red Bull Cape Fear

The call was made by event organizers to postpone further riding until later today. This year’s torrent of turbulent waves is a sharp contrast from last year’s failed Cape Fear contest, which was cancelled after no “jaw-dropping” waves were forecast in time for the event.

If conditions are right, eight head-to-head battles between surfers, with four in the water at any given time, will take place and the field pared down until a winner is crowned.

You can watch the finals of the head-to-head competition for free on Red Bull TV.


Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.