Shaper Mark Phipps takes his 7’11” One Bad Egg out for a speed run at big Winki.
With the forecast looming large for the final days of the Rip Curl Pro, this little clip provided a taster of what we can expect. Sure, it’s not high voltage ripping, but it does show exactly what the surfers can expect when Bells and Winki is firing on all cylinders.
“This was a few weeks ago,” shaper Mark Phipps told Tracks. “The crew were putting up the stands at Bells for the Rip Curl Pro and the pros were surfing Dbah for the comp at the Goldy. I was at home and scored this swell.”
By home, Phipps means the Torquay region, even if he has lived in Hossegor for the better part of two decades. Phipps grew up in Port Lonsdale and was respected as one of the Surf Coast’s best surfers throughout the ’80s and ’90s. After a run as a sponsored surfer, and a regular in the pages of Tracks, he did his shaping apprenticeship under Greg Brown at Gash Surfboards. Phipps then moved to France shaping under his own label out of the legendary Euroglass factory where he has supplied the world’s best surfers boards for the Euro leg each year.
“I get back to Vicco once a year and try to get a swell at Bells. This was a solid 10-foot swell and you can see in one frame there are sets breaking from Bells all the way to Winki,” recalled Phipps. “Getting out was a nightmare. Tony Ray was the first to paddle out and when he went down the Winki steps we were all relieved. It meant we didn’t have to take on the button. Whatever Tony does on those big days we just follow.”
Phipps rode one of his own models called One Bad Egg. While he shapes these from 6’4” all the way up to 8 foot, this was a custom 7’11 that he rode as a quad fin. “It feels pretty special to be racing the Winki walls on a big board,” he says. “This weekend the pros will probably be riding 6’2” step-ups, which is incredible, but on this day us old blokes had no jetski assistance and the sweep was pretty heavy. Two days before this I rode the same board as a thruster in two-foot beachies, almost as a minimal, but it also holds true in waves like this. It’s really versatile.”
Now it’s unlikely this weekend we’ll see Gabby Medina coming in from behind the Bowl on an 8-foot quadfin, but it’s a timely reminder of the power and push that only Bells can offer. Bring it on.