Billabong XXL Wipeout Contenders Announced

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Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards Coming Friday, April 23; Verizon Wipeout & Overall Performance Nominees Announced

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (April 12, 2010) – As the countdown continues to the April 23rd climax of the Tenth Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, additional nominees have been announced in the wipeout and best all-around performance categories.

Always a crowd favorite, the 2010 Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year contenders are a terrifying product of the awesome hydraulic power to be found offshore of Hawaii, California and the Australian island state of Tasmania. South Africa’s Grant Baker (despite being nominated in most other categories) proved that no surfer is perfect, earning a wipeout nod for a high-speed face-plant at Maui’s notorious Jaws break — followed by a 50-foot journey over the falls, his body encased in the lip of the heaving wave.

Hawaii’s Shane Dorian (likewise a multi-category 2010 nominee) took off on one of the biggest waves ever seen at Maverick’s in Northern California, only to be bucked off by the choppy face conditions and tossed head over heels into the 50-degree water. Dorian then experienced a delayed Niagara-in-a-barrel-style plunge into the Maverick’s depths, resulting in the dreaded two-wave hold-down.

The other three nominees are all Australians who met their fates within Tasmania’s twisted, torquing, torture-chamber of a tube known as Shipstern Bluff. As the video evidence details, Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast) emulated a man trapped in a collapsing house, Hobart’s Dan Griffith demonstrated a dynamic freefall to a spectacular butt-first landing and fellow Tasmanian local Brooke Phillips impressed all with an inverted crash-test-dummy somersault. None of the surfers were seriously injured in their wave riding mishaps, the video of which may be viewed on the event website at www.billabongxxl.com.

Also announced today were the nominees in the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award (for men) and the Billabong Girls Performance Award. According to event rules, those awards “will be won by the surfer who puts on the greatest number of outstanding performances at the most diverse number of venues over the course of the entire year. Excellence in the water and leadership in safety in both paddle-in and tow-in surfing disciplines will be considered. Judging criteria is purely subjective and will be calculated from the votes of a large panel of surfers, photographers and surf magazine editors and writers. The prize will be awarded in the amount of $5,000.”

This year the number of finalists in each category has been upgraded to five. On the men’s side the nominees are Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa), Carlos Burle (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii), Mark Healey (Sunset Beach, Hawaii) and Greg Long (San Clemente, California).

On the female side the nominees are Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Keala Kennelly (Honolulu, Hawaii), Mercedes Maidana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Savannah Shaughnessey (Santa Cruz, California) and Jamilah Star (Santa Cruz, California).

These nominees join the other Billabong XXL Big Wave Award category finalists announced earlier this month, including the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award, Monster Paddle, Monster Tube and the $50,000 Ride of the Year Award. The winners in all divisions will be announced on Friday, April 23, 2010 at the tenth-annual invitation-only awards gala at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California in front of 2,250 surf world VIPs. The entire night’s festivities will be webcast live on the BillabongXXL.com site and many partner websites. The show will also be the focus of a one-hour television special airing on the ESPN networks starting on the evening of May 18.

In all, over $130,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this tenth annual edition of the Billabong XXL Awards presented by Monster Energy. Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Honda is the official watercraft of the event. Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine, Air Tahiti Nui and High Surf Accessories.

For all details about the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, please see the website at www.BillabongXXL.com.

The wipeout and performance nominees for 2010, in alphabetical order:

FIVE VERIZON WIRELESS WIPEOUT AWARD NOMINEES:
GRANT BAKER at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 25, 2009
SHANE DORIAN at Maverick’s, California on February 14, 2010
DAN GRIFFITH at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on August 7, 2009
RYAN HIPWOOD at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on October 19, 2009
BROOKE PHILLIPS at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on October 19, 2009

FIVE SURFLINE BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES:
(Surfer prize $5,000 prize)
GRANT BAKER, Durban, South Africa
CARLOS BURLE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
SHANE DORIAN, Kona, Hawaii
MARK HEALEY, Sunset Beach, Hawaii
GREG LONG, San Clemente, California

FIVE BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES:
(Surfer prize $5,000)
MAYA GABEIRA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
KEALA KENNELLY, Honolulu, Hawaii
MERCEDES MAIDANA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
SAVANNAH SHAUGHNESSEY, Santa Cruz, California
JAMILAH STAR, Santa Cruz, California