- 03 April 2014 | Travel
When Captain James Cook first landed at Botany Bay, in 1770, he didn't imagine that the deadly break that hides inside it took almost 200 years to discover.
Cook first landed at Kurnell, on the southern banks of Botany Bay, on the 29th April 1770, when navigating his way around Australia on his HMS Endeavour.
The explorer's landing marked the beginning of Britain's interest in Australia. The interest in surfing would only emerge in December, 1914, when the legendary Hawaiian Olympic champion, Duke Kahanamoku, introduced the sport in the country.
Bodysurfers were the first watermen to taste the punishing 10-foot slabs on offer during the 1960s, as surfers - including Mark Occhilupo - watched on in awe and thought the wave, then known as "Pikers Hole", impossible to surf.
During the 1990s, and with no record and only rumours of the wave being surfed, bodyboarders claimed the break as their own.
Layer, a ragtag bunch of kids from Sydney's Maroubra Beach uncovered the best kept secret in Australian surfing and dared surf it. Initially, they attempted it at six-foot by paddle-in before calling in for jet-ski support to attempt the 10-foot monsters.
Then, the true test of courage came in the form of a paddle-in challenge on giant waves that were previously only attempted by tow-in. Paddling in as max height has gone on to define the location and those who've survived it.
"Pikers Hole", "South Sydney Reef" and "Ours". The spot has had many names. The local surf tribe made the break popular courtesy of their 2007 cinematic documentary "Bra Boys".
The place is magical. In a matter of seconds, a 10-foot slab is formed and races towards a cliff-face just meters ahead before imploding on itself and anyone who dares attempt ride it.
The one name that details the brutal break to perfection is "Cape Fear". A seemingly purpose-built arena for those devoid of any sense of self-preservation, "Cape Fear" only comes to life a few days of the year, typically between April and August.
Even into the new millennium bodyboarders tried to hide the break from surfers but now "Cape Fear" is a rite of passage for surfers the world over.
It featured in 2011 cinematic documentary "Fighting Fear", in which Mark Mathews surfed the break at night under flood lights with best friend Richie Vas.
If you do not know the place well, if you're not an experienced surfer and if you fear deadly slabs, "Ours" is definitely not your dream wave. Get a good pair of binoculars and watch those who dare to defy death.