Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards Party Pics

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Despite a recent eyeball procedure (hence the glasses) Greg Long was on hand to cheer on his big wave bros. Photo: Cheyenne


The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards are always an interesting affair. Big wave surfers are a different breed. The things they do in the ocean are far crazier than us mere mortals can fathom yet the men and women themselves are far more normal than you’d expect. There’s a humble, blue-collar feel to their approach—and we dig it. But for one night in Anaheim they throw on the glitz, bring out their lady friends and throw back (quite a few) cocktails.

The $50,000 2011 Ride Of The Year went to Brazilian Danilo Couto; his extreme excitement at his achievement can be witnessed in the photo below. Couto’s award winning wave took place at Jaws, in his acceptance speech he thanked Hawaii, “It’s been so good to me.” Shane Dorian also has the massive Maui wave to thank for his wins: Monster Paddle and Monster Tube which both went down at Jaws.

Ride Of The Year Winner Danilo Cuoto. Photo Steindler

Ride Of The Year Winner Danilo Cuoto. Photo Steindler

The absence of Sion Milosky was felt deeply through out the night. He won Overall Performer Of The Year. His wife and father accepted his award, greeted by a goose bump inducing standing ovation.

Quote of the night and winner of Girl’s Overall Performance went to our long-standing crush, Keala Kennelly. Despite winning the girl’s award Keala pointed out “It doesn’t matter what’s going on between our legs.” Keala’s rad.

Biggest Wave award winner Benjamin Sanchis reminded us of topless women and baguettes with his French beast of a wave and Mark Mathews gave us a scare with his Verizon Wipeout of the Year Award.

Recently single Sebastian “Seabass” Zietz was cutting a rug as per usual, girls were openly swigging Jack Daniels, cameras were constantly flashing, Mark Healey wore a leather jacket with fringe and we tried to hold our own with men and women that ride waves bigger than our houses.

And may we add, not only are big wave riders in a class of their own, so are their women. They’re something XXL about them too. We’ll let you figure out which anatomical part we’re talking about in the photo gallery…—Cheyenne Arnold
xxl


Danilo Couto Takes Ride Of The Year At Billabong Xxl Awards; Shane Dorian Sets Monster Paddle Record With 57-Footer

Billabong XXL Big Wave Results:

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR SURFER WINNER:
(Surfer prize $50,000 – Plus Toyota Tacoma year lease)
Danilo Couto

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR SURFER SECOND:
(Surfer prize $5,000)
David Scard

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR SURFER THIRD
(Surfer prize $1,500)
Mark Healey

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR SURFER FOURTH
(Surfer prize $1,500)
Michael Brennen

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR SURFER FIFTH
(Surfer prize $1,500)
Benjamin Sanchis

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR VIDEO:
(Video prize $5,000)
Elliot Leboe

WINNER BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
(Surfer prize $15,000 – wave was 67 feet)
Benjamin Sanchis

WINNER BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE PHOTO AWARD
(Photographer prize $4,000 )
Bastien Bonnarme

WINNER MONSTER PADDLE AWARD
(Surfer prize $15,000 – wave was 57 feet, a new record!!)
Shane Dorian

WINNER MONSTER PADDLE PHOTO AWARD
(Photo prize $4,000)
Batel Shimi

WINNER SURFLINE BEST MEN’S PERFORMANCE AWARD
(Surfer prize $5,000)
Sion Milosky

WINNER BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD
(Surfer prize $5,000)
Keala Kennelly

VERIZON WIPEOUT SURFER AWARD
(Surfer prize $2,000)
Mark Mathews

VERIZON WIPEOUT VIDEO AWARD
(Photo prize $1,000)
Andrew Chisholm

MONSTER TUBE SURFER AWARD
(Surfer prize $5,000)
Shane Dorian

MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD
(Photo prize $2,000)
Bruno Lemos

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (April 30, 2011) – The eleventh annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards fueled by Monster Energy climaxed in Anaheim, California last night as Brazilian Danilo Couto scooped top honors for Ride of the Year. Couto earned $50,000 and the keys to a new Toyota Tacoma truck for a paddle-in wave conquered at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii during one of the biggest swells of the year.

Couto, who has been living in Hawaii for many years in his personal quest to ride bigger and bigger waves, was ecstatic as he accepted his award from skateboard legend Tony Hawk.

“I’ve been feeling really good for two months, ever since I caught that wave,” said Couto. “I couldn’t sleep for days, knowing I had done something so special. To be a part of surf history, to have an impact … it’s special.”

Prior to this winter’s paddle-in assault, the Jaws break had long been regarded as a spot so difficult to ride a jet-ski tow in assist was required.

Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the Billabong XXL Awards recognize the biggest and heaviest waves ridden and documented over the past 12 months. More than 2200 big wave riders, industry VIPs, surf retailers and stoked fans packed the Grove Theater in Anaheim to witness astonishing rides from Fiji, Tasmania, France, Hawaii, Ireland, California and Australia. Over 1000 images and videos were submitted for judging, with winners decided by a panel of 400 surfers, photographers and surf media editors. All the winners and highlights of the night may be seen on the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com and at www.Facebook.com/BillabongXXL.

Hawaiian Shane Dorian officially surfed into the record books for paddling into his own outrageous wave at Jaws, Maui (judged to be 57 ft on the face), easily winning the Monster Paddle Award. Dorian also captured the Monster Tube Award for his heroics later on the same wave, as he pulled into one of the greatest barrels of all time.

“It was an epic swell, a real late season swell,” recalled Dorian. “I didn’t really catch a lot of big waves throughout the whole year…I was just stoked the swell came my way, near my house in Maui, and we scored. The Monster Tube award is pretty special –I mean every surfer wants to get tubed, right?”

Hawaii’s, Keala Kennelly took the Girls Performance of the Year Award, breaking the four-in-a-row stranglehold Brazilian Maya Gabeira had held on that category.

Benjamin Sanchis, flying all the way from France to attend the festivities, took top honors for the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award with a wave measured at 67 feet on the face.

“I’m not only happy for myself, but I’m stoked for Europe”, said a beaming Sanchis. “This is a big win and I’m really proud, I’m really happy. The wave, Belharra, is about 30 minutes from my house. It wasn’t even a big day for that spot, it gets bigger for sure.”

Rides at Belharra Reef (in the Basque Country near the French/Spanish border) have been nominated numerous times in XXL history, but this was the first victory for the famed European break.

Kauai surfer Sion Milosky — who tragically drowned last month at Maverick’s in Northern California — posthumously won the Surfline Best Men’s Performance Award for a string of outstanding high surf sessions. Milosky was the first top-level big wave surfer to die while surfing big waves since the XXL awards were established in 2000.

Milosky’s wife, children and father accepted the award on Sion’s behalf following an emotional tribute by friend and previous Ride of the Year winner Ken “Skindog” Collins of Santa Cruz. Several winners donated their prize money to the Milosky Family Fund, including Shane Dorian and Australian Mark Mathews, who captured the Verizon Wipeout Award.

For the first time ever, the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards were taped for an immediate airing on FUEL TV less than 48 hours after the gala evening. The show airs Sunday night, May 1 at 6 PM Pacific Time (9 P.M. Eastern) and features a long list of celebrity presenters including skateboarder Tony Hawk, fighter Tito Ortiz and band members from Metallica and Incubus.

In all, over $130,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this edition of the Billabong XXL Awards fueled by Monster Energy. Verizon is the official communications provider and Toyota is the official vehicle of the event. Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine, Air Tahiti Nui and Contour.