Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge is go!

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)
Swellnet Dispatch

The early signs were promising. A series of classic late autumnal swells delivered back-to-back perfection across the Sydney coastline, and Shark Island lit up like an incandescent light bulb. On fire, it was.

So we entered the first month-long waiting period of the Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge with high expectations. But, four weeks came and went without as much as a whimper from the Tasman Sea.

With international competitions beckoning and intineraries already booked, the decision was made to extend the waiting period for a second month. The riders changed their plans, and we went back to the long range weather charts. Surely one decent Island swell in eight weeks wasn't too much to ask for?

Up until about a week ago, it looked like it might be. Shark Island is a tricky wave that requires a unique set of variables to occur at the same time. Ideally, we want a south-east swell, perhaps with an extra touch of east. Too much south and it's a fat mushburger. Too much north-east and it slabs in brutal sections across the inside suck rock, affectionately known as 'Surge'. Wave heights should be somewhere between four and six feet. And winds need to be west/south-west.

But most importantly, we need a high tide - and, in order to run the event in a single sweep, we need the high tide to be during the middle of the day. Shark Island can only be surfed two hours either side of high, so this reduces the number of contestable days within each one month waiting period - irrespective of the swell.

We're now down to the last four days of the extended waiting period, and given today's impressive southerly swell, we've decided to run the event tomorrow (Saturday). The swell direction isn't perfect, but winds and tides are in our favour, and with some luck there'll still be enough leftover size to draw a few big barrels off the reef.

The webcast starts at 8am sharp on Fluidzone. Sixteen of the world's best bodyboarders will be in the water - check out all of the action here.