Back in 2002 a small troupe of surfers ventured downTasmania’s southern coast chasing rumours of aterrifying righthander that could as easily kill a manas deliver him the barrel of a lifetime. This posseincluded Maroubra chargers Koby Abberton and MarkMatthews, ‘QS warrior Drew Courtney, WCT debutanteKieren Perrow, and local lunatic Andrew Campbell.After days of waiting around with no surf news got tothe boys of a cyclone off the Queensland coast meaningthe famed Superbank would for certain be firing.
With the swell forecast in Tassie being uncertain, Abbertonmade the decision to abort for the warmer climate,subsequently turning his back on what would laterbecome one the most infamous sessions in the historyof surfing. The righthander was called Shipsterns andthose who stayed behind, gained internationalnotoriety for their fearless attack of the ledgingdeathly beasts, particularly Kieren Perrow whobordered on suicidal in his approach to the waves.Ever since Abberton has vowed to return and makeamends and just recently he got his chance.
Being subject to the extreme weather patterns ofAustralia’s southern ocean, Shipsterns often has swellbut is too messy to surf. In mid December it waspredicted a six hour window of optimum conditionswould be on for the plundering. Koby and Mark hadtickets in an instant. Photographers Nathan Smith andTim Bonython also got wind of what was happening andbooked in. The session that followed was rumoured tomatch that of 2002 with Abberton, Matthews andCampbell putting their lives on the line for barrelsof such ridiculous proportion and shape they almostneed to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately the onlypeople able to enjoy these scenes are those who whosurfed and the seagulls on the rocks. Why? The photogsmissed their plane. Said Matthews a week aftersession. “Im alright with it but I think everyonebetter stay out of Koby’s way for a while. Roundthree coming soon.