Born and raised on Australia’s Gold Coast, Ryan Hipwood was drawn to the art of surfing from a very early age. He quickly began competing and as a teen rose through the pro junior ranks. Hipwood (aka Hippo) was a well-respected competitive surfer with top results, however, he found himself growing tired and frustrated with the competitive surf scene. He began to pursue a career in free surfing and has achieved some phenomenal results since leaving competitive surfing. In 2007 Ryan won the Cloud Nine Invitational contest in the Philippines. In 2008, he received the ‘Biggest Paddle In’ award at the Billabong Teahapoo invitational. And in 2009 Hippo won the Waves Black Knight Award, a peoples choice contest where the Australian public vote for their favourite surfer.
As an accomplished free surfer, Ryan has found his niche in big wave surfing. Hippo was runner up for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards in 2009 for surfing a monster wave at Shipsterns, Tasmania that nearly took his life. And in 2012 he was nominated for Billabong XXL Ride of the Year for his massive backhand barrel at Cloud Break, Fiji. These are two of the most prestigious awards in not only big wave surfing, but in the entire surfing community.
Hipwood has been riding for DHD since he was 15. He and Darren have established a great relationship that has allowed Ryan to progress beyond competitive surfing and into the world of big wave surfing. “Especially in big wave surfing it’s really important that your shaper can relate to your feedback and transfer that to your boards. I am lucky that I have such a good relationship with Darren so that I can tell him exactly what I want and know that he will apply it to my equipment.”
“Ryan has made a name for himself in an aspect of free-surfing few dare to explore, he is constantly pushing the limits both mentally and physically in search of the world’s heaviest waves. When it comes to big wave surfing these guys are putting their lives on the line every time they go out. The trust between surfer and shaper has to be there or things could go horribly wrong. Ryan’s feedback is critical to how his equipment performs and his trust is of the upmost importance. It’s an honour working with such a talented and progressive surfer.” —DH.
I ride this board mostly in Australia or where the waves are really slabing and impossible to paddle into. Places like Shipsterns in Tasmania, the Right in WA, and Tahiti.
The 6’1 Ducks Nuts is my standard short board. I ride this board when the waves are 4-6 feet. It’s a great performance short board especially for places like the Gold Coast, which don’t really hold much bigger than 6 feet. The Ducks Nuts has heaps of drive and makes smooth rail-to-rail transitions.
The 6’2 is my step up size from my 6’1. I ride this board when the waves are starting to over power my standard short board. It works well at places like Cloud Break, Hawaii, and Tahiti.
This board is my step up gun. I would even think about riding this board unless it was a solid 8 to 10 feet. It goes great out at Pipeline and really big Teahupoo. This is probably my favorite board, because I only break it out when the waves are pumping and I have had my best waves on it.