Watch­ing Dave Otto’s lat­est footage “The Orig­i­nals” from Ship­sterns Bluff in Tas­ma­nia is like watch­ing a hor­ror movie. Mon­ster waves don’t just break against the head­land, they mutate into bizarre surfer-eater shapes. 

At first, it’s all fun and games. Pros are in con­trol get­ting bar­reled in huge tubes. A surfer holds a glo­ry pose while throw­ing back a beer. Then, it all changes. Ledges appear on the wave face from nowhere. Whirlpools form beneath surfers’ boards and suck them into their vortex.

Giant swell is no stranger at Ship­sterns. The bluff was orig­i­nal­ly called Devil’s Point because it juts out from the remote, unpop­u­lat­ed south­east­ern coast of Tas­ma­nia, and it takes sub-polar storms orig­i­nat­ing in Antarc­ti­ca on the chin.

Hap­less vic­tims and near miss­es keep the ten­sion high through­out the footage. Surfers that do man­age to escape get deep into the tube and hit the stairstep ledges that form on the wave face ear­ly. Those that get rag-dolled hit a late ledge while they’re going top speed near the bot­tom of the wave.

Pros like Kel­ly Slater and Tas­man­ian local Mar­ti Par­a­di­sis slay these beasts, but with all the car­nage you start get­ting the feel­ing that someone’s not going to make it. The waves seem too gnarly, too raw, and too strong.

Then you see the hor­ror movie ending.