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It’s re­ally hard to ex­plain to some­one who hasn’t grown up here,” says Tas­ma­nian surfer James McKean. “You ba­si­cally might surf two or three times a week on an av­er­age beachie for two or three months and then Ship­pies will break. And if you’re not surf­ing Ship­pies you’re just not get­ting bar­reled.” James grew up watch­ing Ship­sterns le­gends Andy Camp­bell, Marti Par­a­di­sis and James Hollmer-Cross take on mean, de­mented, mu­tant slabs at the hell­rais­ing right and wanted noth­ing more than to get a piece of the ac­tion for him­self. “The feel­ing you get when you get a good one out there while push­ing the lim­its of what’s pos­si­ble is in­cred­i­ble. I think out there when you’re tow­ing Ship­pies any­one can po­ten­tially get the wave of a day. When it all comes to­gether and you get that good wave noth­ing beats it.” “You never re­ally think it’s that crazy when you’re do­ing it but maybe it is. I def­i­nitely think a lot more about get­ting in­jured and I’m pretty cal­cu­lated when I surf. When you see your mate get a crazy one you al­ways want that more. But I don’t think we’re that crazy.” How­ever the al­lure of stand­ing deep in­side a gi­ant green cathe­dral on Tassie’s most south­ern tip seems to be lost on the next gen­er­a­tion of lo­cals. “As much as there’s a re­ally good crew of younger surfers down here no one is step­ping up just yet,” ex­plains the 28-year-old. There are some re­ally good younger surfers down here but they don’t seem to have the drive to surf it when it’s big and that’s un­der­stand­able, it’s a scary wave. But it makes you won­der who are the lo­cals that will keep push­ing it?” Aside from value of cus­to­di­an­ship that comes with surf­ing the wave ev­ery time it breaks, the bonds shared from the col­lec­tive group have proved ev­er­last­ing. “I think part of the rea­son we’re still so close still af­ter all these years is be­cause we have Ship­pies. Even guys who aren’t in our friend­ship group are brought to­gether by that wave in a sense. We can go down there, have four or five mates on the boat hav­ing a laugh and come in from a ses­sion, have a few beers and hang out. It’s al­most like that wave helped bring our group to­gether and kept us close. I don’t think we would be as tight as a group if we didn’t have Ship­pies.”

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