Ryan “Hippo” Hipwood has made big wave history – not only through his unhealthy adrenaline obsession, but also through the co-creation of Red Bull Cape Fear. Before the first event kicked off in 2014, he and Mark Mathews put aside their never-ending hunt for big waves and worked together to make Cape Fear happen.
But his accomplishments don’t come close to ending there. In 2009, he inadvertently made international headlines when he survived a two-metre free-fall at Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania and recovered to complete the wave standing tall. And as a reward, 29-year-old Hippo claimed a runner-up finish in the world’s most important big wave event, the annual Big Wave Awards. He’s also made a name for himself paddling into giants at Teahupo’o, Cloudbreak and Cloud Nine. Even when it’s too big to paddle, he doesn’t back down – instead, he and Mark grab and jet ski and whip each other into some of the most unforgiving waves on the planet.