Wipeouts, injuries dominate Red Bull Cape Fear big-wave contest

The first day of Red Bull’s Cape Fear big-wave surfing contest was held Sunday in Sydney’s Cape Solander. The conditions were the largest the invitation-only contest had ever seen, and produced a plethora of heavy wipeouts that caused the event to be postponed a day.

RELATED: The 5 worst big-wave surfing wipeouts of the past year

“I think everyone in the event would agree this is the biggest the Cape has ever been surfed,” Blake Thornton, one of the competitors, told Red Bull. “Even though I got absolutely smashed at the end of the battle it’s going to be a surf I remember for a long time, with one great wave and one of the worst wipeouts I’ve ever had.”

Cape Fear surfing
Standings leader Justen Allport takes on a monster wave before his day ended in the hospital. Photo: Courtesy of Brett Hemmings/Red Bull

The event pits 16 of the world’s best big-wave surfers in head-to-head match ups against each other at the inimitably sketchy Ours surf break — a possessed, devilish slab that breaks just feet away from a jagged rock shelf.

Waves at the event topped out at 15 feet, requiring competitors to tow-in. The end result was a plethora of mind-blowing barrels, but far too many dangerous wipeouts for the competition to continue.

“It got way too dangerous out there,” former world champion surfer Mark Occhilupo told The Advertiser about the conditions. “Everyone was getting sucked over the falls and so close to going over the rocks. It was so lucky no one got seriously hurt today … Tomorrow it could be a little smaller, but way more manageable.”

The standings leader Justen ‘Jughead’ Allport needed to be rescued and fitted with a neck brace after being swallowed in the white wash as a monster wave closed out on him at the end of his first heat. He was transported to a local hospital where he remains in stable condition.

The second day of action at Red Bull Cape Fear can be seen live on redbull.tv Monday, June 6 at 2:40 p.m. PDT.

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