Mike Stewart takes on Shipstern Bluff

September 13, 2019 | Bodyboarding
Mike Stewart: surfing Shipstern Bluff at the age of 56 | Photo: James Bennett

Mike Stewart has ridden the infamous Tasmanian wave for the first time in his life.

The nine-time world bodyboarding champion embarked on a strike mission to the "Apple Isle," a week after competing at the 2019 Kiama Pro, in New South Wales.

Stewart joined a group of hardcore riders and was able to taste the raw power of Shipstern Bluff in above-average conditions.

The 56-year-old bodyboarder caught and rode a few mammoth right-handers and came away unscathed.

"I'm still buzzing with adrenalized stoke from my recent Tasmania trip. Thank you to local legend Zebulon Critchlow who had to duct tape stitches in his ear to accommodate showing me around," said Stewart.

"Zeb shared amazing Tasmanian hospitality and hooked me up with everything I needed gear-wise, not to mention some key slingshots into the Shippies staircase. Thanks to all locals for sharing your break."

Mike Stewart and James Bennett: the musician photographed the waves ridden by the bodyboarding legend | Photo: Bennett

A Relentless Wave

James Bennett, an Australian singer-songwriter from Newcastle, NSW, was on-site and couldn't believe what his eyes were seeing.

"It was incredible! I saw history being made witnessing Mike Stewart surf Shipstern Bluff for the first time. He is someone I've always wanted to meet and a bit of a hero of mine," said Bennett.

The musician took a few photos that reveal an in-form Stewart adjusting his body and board to the relentless Australian liquid beast.

The waves ranged from double to triple overhead, but those seemed to be the least of his problems.

Shipstern Bluff is widely considered one of the heaviest and most dangerous waves on the planet. It breaks over a razor-sharp reef and in front of a rocky promontory.

The make things even "more dramatic, at a certain point, the wave's face suffers a sudden mutation, which creates several unpredictable steps.

The weight of "Shippies," located on the southeastern coast of Tasmania, is the equivalent to 50 semi-trailers.

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