Australias biggest surf breaks are very dangerous, a breaking wave can push surfers down 20 to 50 feet (6.2 m to 15.5 m) below the surface. Once they stop spinning around, they have to quickly regain their equilibrium and figure out which way is up. Surfers may have less than 20 seconds to get to the surface before the next wave hits them. Additionally, the water pressure at a depth of 20–50 feet can be strong enough to rupture one's eardrums. Strong currents and water action at those depths can also slam a surfer into a reef or the ocean floor, which can result in severe injuries or even death.
One of the greatest dangers is the risk of being held underwater by two or more consecutive waves. Surviving a triple hold-down is extremely difficult and surfers must be prepared to cope with these situations.
One of Australias biggest surf breaks and scariest, is Shipsterns Bluff it is located in between Cape Raoul and Tunnel Bay, Tasmania. It is approximately a 2 hour drive to the Westside of Tasman National Park where Shipsterns Bluff is located, it has two-hundred-metre cliffs rising vertically out of the ocean, and if you are looking for a reassuring hint of civilisation you won't find it.
It is approximately a 30km boat/jet ski ride to the location and is regarded amongst the surfing community as one of the wildest and most dangerous locations in the world, also considering waters surrounding the Shipsterns are known as habitat of great white sharks.
Shipstern Bluff's ferocity when seen at close quarters, will leave little doubt that this scary hellish right-hander could indeed be a crossover point to the Underworld. For decades this wave was more myth than reality, as no one had even considered surfing it.
Rumours of a wave in Tasmania far gnarlier than anything on the mainland first drifted across Bass Strait in 2000. Up until that point the true, awful potential of Shipstern Bluff was known only by the local guys who'd already surfed it (at that stage about three of them).
Nature's raw power is not often on display like this.
Australias biggest surf breaks
Cow Bombie is deep water reef break about 2 km offshore from the Western Australian suburb of Grace Town, south of Perth. It is now recognised as one of Australia's big wave hot spots, having produced XXL awards Australasia biggest wave, upwards of 40ft in 2009
More recently big wave rider Mark Viser has said "If the conditions are right, it could be up to 60ft (18m)," Visser said. "It's a massive wave which rarely breaks and it's the biggest wave in the country."
Alfy Carter rode the line. He rode the line with a bunch of his mates at a previously secret place, "Cow Bombie", in Western Australia. Here, the waves resemble mountains. Here, courage, patience, sanity and heart are tested as never before. Here, Carter made his name.
He isn't claiming his wave was the biggest ever ridden in Australia - he doesn't want to sound like a smart-arse. He doesn't have to. Everyone else is doing it for him. The proof is in the photograph. The proof is in his nomination for the hugely prestigious 2006 Oakley/ASL Big Wave Awards. The proof is in the shaking heads, the rolling eyes, the disbelief in anyone who speaks about it.
The fine line. Carter rode it and landed on the preferred side, the side where there's love and bravery and humour and exhilaration and life.
He's getting all the kudos, but he's lucky he wasn't killed that day.
Before the thunder rolled in - his wave - Carter had been pummelled by a wave of comparable magnitude. He went down so deep it was as black as night. Twice he had to equalise the pressure pounding in his head. He was tossed around like a rag doll, unable to take a breath, telling himself not to freak out . . . don't freak out, whatever you do, don't freak out . . . but, with every passing second, the time to start freaking out drew closer. Forty seconds after going under, he came back up.
Australias biggest surf breaks.