Surfing at Shipsterns Bluff, Marion Bay, SE Tasmania
Shipsterns Bluff , 'The Stern' or "shippies" has put South East Tasmania firmly on the world surfing map. The wave is considered as one of the worlds heaviest, and with good reason.
What makes it unique is that it is very accessible for spectators, it is just around the corner from Port Arthur. When the waves are on at Shippies anyone who is able to take on a spectacular 2 hour walk (a fabulous walk in itself) can put themselves in the line up.
No more than 100 metres from this amazing wave one can watch in awe Tasmania's - and indeed the worlds best surfers take on this monster wave. Large west and southerly swells also bring to life 7 Mile Point, a classic point break right near Hobart airport and many other reefs and point breaks from Swansea to Southport.
Smaller south swells bring waves on the southerly facing beaches of which there are many.
Favourites are Roaring Beach on the Tasman Peninsular and also Remarkable caves which provides a steep takeoff and a beautiful location. South Arm area has several good surf beaches and SLCA patrolled areas at Clifton Beach.
For the more energetic a walk into Southeast Cape beach can be a most rewarding day. The Bay has several breaks, Lion Rock being the most consistent. This left hander picks up any swell from the southwest and throws up nice walls and tubes from 3' to 10' plus.
Another of South East Tassies gems is Boneyard. "The Yard" is another worldclass wave and all who have ridden it declare it Australias' best righthander. This waves breaks over a permanent sand bar over 800 metres off Marion Bay beach. Local surfers know when Boneyard is breaking there are many other opportunities for good surf not too far away on the Tasman Peninsula, Eaglehawk Neck and further afield in SE Tassie.
Not too many years ago surfing in Tasmania was considered a little crazy. Some from "the mainland" still hold that view which suits the local surfers well. The fact is modern wetsuits enable even the old master to his mal for at least a season or two while the grommet and core surfers use their local knowledge to get great waves all year.
If you are coming to tassie with surfing in mind you will need wheels and a good wetsuit, a 3/2 is fine for summer but bring a good 4/3 and booties for winter. Your boards might need to be a little thicker than normal for you especially for winter conditions.
The many weather and dedicated surf websites and webcams on the internet have made planning to be at the best surf on any particular day much easier. However SE Tasmania is notoriously UNpredictable due to topographical elements, fickle wind conditions and varying swell directions. This can be a curse and at other times a blessing as you discover perfect uncrowded waves.
Surfing south east Tasmania can be frustrating but also very rewarding, the locals are friendly so strike up a conversation and you will begin to pick up some of the knowledge that will make your surfing holiday in Tasmania an exciting and rewarding adventure.
- Marion Bay
- Only 25 minutes from Hobart airport Marion Bay links Tasmania's East Coast with the convict country of the Tasman Peninsula. Abel Tasman first landed in the antipodes here in 1642. Europeans settled the area in the 1840's.