2013 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards Coming Down to the Wire
NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (March 7, 2013) – With less than two weeks remaining in the annual event period of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Pacifico, speculation abounds as to which surfers and which epic rides will receive nominations in all seven categories. The yearly competition cycle ends with the conclusion of winter on March 20, and all big wave rides at every surf spot in the world have been eligible for entry based on the photographic evidence. The nominees will be revealed the following week, with the gala awards ceremony taking place on Friday, May 3 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.
According to Surfline, the official surf forecast of the XXL, there are no extraordinary storms lining up anywhere in the world for the next couple of weeks, so it appears that the finalists will be culled from among the existing entries now available for analysis on the event website at BillabongXXL.com.
By most accounts, most of the nominees are likely to come from three main sources, among them a mind-bending day at Cloudbreak, Fiji which forced a halt to the regular competition at the ASP-rated Volcom Fiji Pro in June and opened the door to the world’s best big wave specialists to put on a clinic in massive – yet perfect – left-breaking tubes. An unprecedented early-October swell slammed into Jaws, on the Hawaiian Island of Maui, setting the stage for a quantum leap in performance at that legendary break (and backed up by another amazing day on New Year’s Eve). Added to the pile of brilliant entries were several enormous waves ridden during an ominous session at the Cortes Bank, a notorious seamount 100 miles off the California coast on December 21, the anticipated moment of the Mayan apocalypse.
What ties these three epic swell events together is the fact that all were challenged purely by surfers who paddled in under their own power. Not long ago, these waves would have been considered only possible to catch and ride using a tow-in assist from a personal watercraft. But in the last few seasons, the vanguard of big wave surfing’s elite have pushed back the mental and physical barriers so quickly they have taken the sport to an all new level.
“What is truly remarkable about this year’s entries,” said Billabong XXL event director Bill Sharp, “is that the top entries contending for the Pacifico Paddle Award are just as big, if not bigger, than most of the entries in the tow-in division. But it’s the performance levels — the maneuvers and tube rides being done on these giant waves — that are even more amazing than just the face heights. There are probably ten potential Ride of the Year nominees that would have been hands-down winners in previous years. That’s how fast the sport is moving forward right now.
“But size is also a factor this year. Some people think we could see a new Guinness World Record set for the Largest Wave Surfed (Paddle-in),” added Sharp. “There are a few waves from Jaws and Cortes that look like they could well be in that same realm.”
The XXL Judging panel will determine the face height of all the nominees and select a winner prior to the awards show. The current world record is held by Shane Dorian of Kona, Hawaii who rode a 58-footer at Jaws on March 15, 2011. To visit the surfing records in the Guinness site, click HERE.
Five nominees will be announced in each of the seven categories, including the Ride of the Year, Pacifico Paddle, Pacifico Tube, XXL Biggest Wave, Surfline Best Overall Performance, Billabong Girls Performance and the Wipeout of the Year. The thirteenth Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards feature over $120,000 in prize money and will be televised on the ESPN Networks on June 9 at 12 PM Pacific.