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2010 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards Results are in:

April 25th, 2010 No comments

 

XXL1004 - BillabongXXL10WinnerBigSteudtnerSM - Framed mr

South African Grant “Twiggy” Baker Claims Ride of the Year, German Surfer Sebastian Steudtner Wins XXL Biggest Wave,

California’s Shawn Dollar Breaks Biggest Paddle-in Wave Record, Aussie Brooke Phillips wins Wipeout of the Year

ANAHEIM, CA — (April 24, 2010) — Grant “Twiggy” Baker from Durban, South Africa took top Ride of the Year honors in the premier category of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, at a glittering function in Anaheim, California last night.

Baker, 36, pocketed US $50,000 for his incredible ride on an enormous wave which he paddled into during the Maverick’s Surf Contest at Half Moon Bay in Northern California on February 13, 2010.

“This is for my country, South Africa! We have the FIFA (soccer) World Cup later this year and we’re a proud nation,” Baker said in his victory speech after thanking the El Nino weather conditions for producing an amazing year of big waves around the planet, his fellow nominees for their incredible performances and confessing that he did not have a speech prepared as he did not expect to win.

“Thanks to all the guys back at Dungeons (in Cape Town) and everyone here tonight. Drinks are on me!” Baker added as he celebrated on stage with the giant check.

Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the Tenth Annual XXL Awards recognize the biggest and heaviest waves ridden and documented over the past twelve months anywhere in the world.

2,300 surf-stoked fans packed the Grove Theater in Anaheim to witness mind-blowing rides from Chile, South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, California and French Polynesia.  In what proved to be one of the best years in big wave surfing history, over 1000 images and videos were submitted for judging.  The awards are decided by a panel of 400 surfers, selected surf media and big wave aficionados.

Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) finished first in the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave division for a giant tow-in ride at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on a monster wave that took everyone by surprise for its size and speed.  It was the first time a German surfer had appeared on the XXL stage.

“It feels good; it’s what I live for,” said Steudtner. “I moved to Hawaii when I was 16; a Hawaiian family took me in and taught me how to surf. I am honored to win this thing.”

Shawn Dollar officially surfed into the record books for riding a paddle-in wave judged to be 55 feet on the face to win the Monster Paddle Award.  The previous Guinness Book best was held by Californian Taylor Knox for a 52-foot wave ridden at Todos Santos, Mexico in 1998.

“It’s like winning a Gold Medal or winning the World Series,” said Dollar.  “It’s been the most important thing in my life for many years and I’ve accomplished it – phenomenal!”

The 2010 Billabong XXL Awards were webcast in over a dozen countries with a worldwide audience that broke records for a surfing awards event.  The awards ceremony was webcast live on BillabongXXL.com and simulcast on EXPN.com.  The event will be broadcast on the ESPN networks starting May 18.

In all, over $130,000 in cash and prizes were awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this edition of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave 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.

FINAL RESULTS:

BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD

1st: Grant Baker  (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.     (Video by Noel Robinson)

     (Surfer prize $50,000  –  Video prize $5,000)

2nd: Ramon Navarro  (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 8, 2009.  

      (Surfer prize $5,000)

3rd: Shane Dorian (Kona, Kauai, Hawaii) Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010. 

     (Surfer prize $1,500)

4th: Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010.

     (Surfer prize $1,500) 

5th: Mark Healey/Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009. 

     (Surfer prize $1,500)

WINNER BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD

Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremburg, Germany) at Jaws, Maui on December 7th, 2009.    (Photo by Batel Shimi)

     (Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled – Photo/video prize $4,000)

WINNER MONSTER PADDLE AWARD

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Mavericks, California on February 13th, 2010   (Photo by Fred Pompermayer)

     (Surfer prize $15,000  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

WINNER MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17th, 2010.  (Photo by Ben Thouard)

     (Surfer prize $5,000 – Photography prize $2,000)

WINNER BEST MALE OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii)

     (Surfer prize $5,000)

WINNER BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD

Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

     (Surfer prize $5,000)

WINNER VERIZON WIRELESS WIPEOUT AWARD

Brook Phillips Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania, Australia on October 19th, 2009.

For more details see the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com

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MEDIA CONTACT:  BILL SHARP

SurfNewsEd@aol.com    949-548-6740

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 MEDIA RESOURCES (do not publish)

 HIGH RES PHOTOS FOR MEDIA DOWNLOAD (ACTION AND AWARDS):                                                                          

 http://billabongxxl.com/xxl_media/                                        

 News video:

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Highlight webclip on Youtube for embedding on your website:

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Webclip File:

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NEWSFLASH – Billabong’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker wins Ride of the Year at Oscars of Big Wave surfing

April 24th, 2010 No comments

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker

NEWSFLASH – Billabong’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker wins Ride of the Year at Oscars of Big Wave surfing

Billabong team rider Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban, South Africa, won the Ride of the Year, the premier category in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, at a glittering function attended by 2 250 people in Anaheim, California last night.

Baker, 36, pocketed US $50 000 (approx. R375 000) for his incredible ride on an enormous wave that he paddled into during the Mavericks Surf Contest at Half Moon Bay in California on 13 February 2010.

“This is for my country, South Africa! We have the FIFA World Cup later this year and we’re a proud nation,” Baker said in his victory speech after thanking the El Nino weather conditions for producing the most amazing year of big waves around the planet, his fellow nominees for their incredible performances and confessing that he did not have a speech prepared as he did not expect to win.

“I’d like to thank all my sponsors, particularly Billabong and my aunt Cheron (Kraak) back in Jeffreys Bay. Thanks to all the guys back at Dungeons (in Cape Town) and everyone here tonight. Drinks are on me!” Baker added as he celebrated on stage with the giant cheque.

A full release with details of all the awards follows shortly

Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Results

1. Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban, South Africa)
2. Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile)
3. Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA)
4. Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia)  
5. Mark Healey & Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA)

Ends

Pictured: Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker on the ride at Mavericks that won him us $50 000 for the Ride of the Year in the 2010 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards Photo: Frank Quirarte / BillabongXXL.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications

PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel:              +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax:             +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile:         +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:           lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

BILLABONG XXL BIG WAVE AWARDS SURGE TOWARD FRIDAY NIGHT’S CLIMAX IN ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA;TENTH ANNUAL EVENT FEATURES GREATEST RIDES OF YEAR, $130,000 IN PRIZES AND LIVE WEBCAST

April 23rd, 2010 No comments

Manoa Drollet of French Polynesia in barrel at Teahupoo 

 NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (April 22, 2010) — The countdown is underway as the elite of the big wave surfing world converge on Southern California for Friday night’s Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy.  The Oscars-style ceremony at the Grove Theatre in Anaheim will pay tribute to the greatest achievements in high surf during the last year with a red carpet gala and a star-studded array of nominees and presenters.  Over 2,200 surf industry VIPs will attend the invitation-only event which will be carried via a live webcast on BillabongXXL.com

The tenth annual XXL Awards have shaped up as the most spectacular in the event’s history, thanks to an extraordinary year of El Nino-fueled swells spanning the Seven Seas.  Over $130,000 in prizes will be distributed to the champions in an array of categories including the Ride of the Year, Billabong XXL Biggest Wave, Monster Paddle, Monster Tube and Surfline Overall Performance Awards.  The top female surfers of the year will contend for the Billabong Girls Performance crown and the greatest mishaps of 2009/10 will be celebrated with the crowd-pleasing Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year Award.

Nominees are flying in from all over the world, including Ride of the Year finalists Grant “Twiggy” Baker of South Africa, Shane Dorian and Mark Healey of Hawaii, Ramon Navarro of Chile and Raimana Van Bastolaer of French Polynesia.  Contending for biggest wave of the year caught by any means are Ian Walsh and Makua Rothman of Hawaii, Ross Clarke-Jones of Australia, Danilo Couto of Brazil and Sebastian Steudtner of Germany.

The year-long competition covers every day of high surf at every surf break around the world, and is based on the photographic evidence.  Drawing from over a thousand entries, a panel of expert judges has analyzed the photos and video of the biggest waves and best moments to determine which were the greatest of all.

The webcast begins at 7:30 P.M. Pacific Time, this Friday, April 23rd.  Times in other zones are shown below.

The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards are fuelled 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.

A high resolution version of the image below may be downloaded from:

https://secure.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8971668e5b6376b4a369

Nominee video available to news outlets for immediate download on request.  A news feed and release will be issued immediately upon completion of Friday night’s awards ceremony.

BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS WEBCAST INTERNATIONAL START TIMES:

Honolulu   4:30 PM   Fri
Los Angeles   7:30 PM   Fri
New York   10:30 PM   Fri
Rio de Janeiro  11:30 PM Fr
London   Sat  3:30 AM
Paris   Sat 4:30 AM

Cape Town   Sat   4:30 AM

Perth    Sat 10:30 AM
Sydney   Sat 12:30 PM

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Bill Sharp  surfnewsed@aol.com

Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications

PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel:              +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax:             +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile:         +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:           lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Billabong’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker nominated for a record five Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards

April 13th, 2010 No comments

XXL1003 - BillabongXXL10BakerMavericks - Framed - MR

 South African Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker has set a record by being nominated for five different categories in the 10th annual edition of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, the Oscars of big wave surfing.

 Baker, 36, who hails from Durban, has been selected as one of five finalists in each of the categories for the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year, the Monster Paddle, the Monster Tube, the Surfline Best Overall Performance and the Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Baker, who won the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave and the Surfline Best Overall Performance awards last year.

“The Ride of the Year is where the biggest cash is, the Overall Performance is judged by your peers, I love barrels so to be nominated for that is an honour and nobody really wants to win the Wipeout award.”

“I am most proud about being nominated for the Monster Paddle because the crew has definitely been focusing on paddling into the biggest possible waves for the past couple of years. One thing for sure is that whoever picks up that award this year will have paddled into the biggest wave ever.”

Baker received his nominations for the Ride of the Year, Monster Paddle and Monster Tube awards for waves he rode at Mavericks in California in February during the Mavericks Surf Contest. His Wipeout took place during a tow in session at Jaws on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Xmas day while his exploits in South Africa, Chile – where he won a big wave event, Hawaii, California, Mexico, the Cortes Bank and Tahiti earned him an Overall Performance nomination for the second year running.

The Billabong team rider will be leaving this week for California to attend the Awards Ceremony which will be staged on Friday 23 April at the huge Grove Theatre in Anaheim where an invitation only audience of 2 250 surf and media luminaries and VIP’s will celebrate the feats of the world’s top big wave chargers.

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 nominees for 2010, in alphabetical order:

FIVE BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $50,000  –  Video prize $5,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Video by Noel Robinson)

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Video by Noel Robinson)

Mark Healey & Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.

     (Video by Dwayne Fetch)

Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 8, 2009.

     (Video by Marc Beaty/Surfline)

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010

     (Video by Aaron Lieber)

FIVE BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

Ross Clarke-Jones (Torquay, Vic., Australia) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 25, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder and Bruno Lemos.  Video by Elliot Leboe.)

Danilo Couto (Bahia, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 25, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder and Batel Shimi.  Video by Chris Tronolone.)

Makua Rothman (Sunset Beach, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 11, 2010. 

     (Photos by Erik Aeder, Tracy Kraft, Bruno Lemos and Zak Noyle.  Video by Tim Bonython and Elliot Leboe.)

Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder, Jeff Flindt, Sean Hower, Fred Pompermayer and Batel Shimi.)

Ian Walsh (Kuau, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 11, 2010.

     (Photo by Tim McKenna.  Video by Tim Bonython and Elliot Leboe.)

FIVE MONSTER PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $15,000  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Robert Brown, Tom Cozad, Art Gimbel, Todd Glaser, Ed Grant, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte. Video by Curt Myers, Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13. 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Robert Brown, Todd Glaser, Guerin Myall, Fred Pompermayer, Tyler Fox and Seth Migdail.  Video by Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Mark Healey & Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.    

     (Photos by Bidu, Brent Bielmann, Todd Glaser and Shorty.  Video by Dwayne Fetch and Thomas Jamur.)

Alex Martins (San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Scott Eggers, Art Gimbel, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte.  Video by Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay on December 8, 2009.

     (Photos by Bidu, Jeremiah Klein, Pete Freiden, Scott Soens, Pete Hodgson, Brent Bielmann.  Video by Mark Beaty/Surfline and Bruce Walker.)

FIVE MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $5,000  – Still Photography prize $2,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer, and Frank Quirarte.)

Manoa Drollet (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010. 

     (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Ben Thouard)

Rusty Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte)

Mark Mathews (Maroubra, NSW, Australia) at The Right, Western Australia on June 15, 2009.

     (Photos by Calum Macaulay and Shorty.)

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010. 

     (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Ben Thouard)

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

For a further details on all the nominees see the official media release below.

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For an array of Ride of the Year clips which you can view or embed on your own website, see www.YouTube.com/surfnews.

Please join the Billabong XXL Facebook fan site at http://www.facebook.com/GLOBALBIGWAVEAWARDS.

Media outlets requiring additional materials for longer-form coverage on the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards may request additional high-resolution images and HD video.

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Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications

PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel:              +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax:             +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile:         +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:           lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

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 http://www.billabongxxl.com/nominee_site/wipeout/index.html.

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.

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PRESS CONTACT

Bill Sharp

surfnewsed@aol.com

001-949-548-6740

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker nabs three nominations for Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards

April 6th, 2010 No comments

XXL1003 - BillabongXXL10BakerMavericks - Framed - MR

The finalists for the 2010 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, the Oscars of big wave surfing, were announced in California on Friday in the wake of one of the greatest years in surfing history. 

South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker leads the field with three nominations, all coming for his outstanding performances at Mavericks in California in early February. The Durban based big wave charger is one of the five surfers in contention for the premier Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Award, which carries a prize of US $50 000 (approx. R370 000) for his perfect 10 point ride at the Mavericks Surf Contest.

Baker, who won the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave and the Surfline Best Overall Performance awards last year, is also a contender in the Monster Paddle Award ($15 000) and the Monster Tube Award ($5 000) in 2010.

And with the nominees for the Surfline Best Overall performance award and the Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year for this year due to be announced next week, Baker could possibly scoop a total of five nominations. During 2009/10 awards period he won the Big Wave event in Chile and charged huge waves in South Africa, Hawaii, Mexico, at the Cortez Bank 160 kms off the coast of California and elsewhere while the wipeouts he took at Jaws on Maui in December have been described as some of the worst ever seen!

In all, over $130,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this 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.

The winners 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 event website and will also be the focus of a one-hour television special airing on the ESPN networks starting on the evening of May 18.

The nominees for 2010, in alphabetical order:

FIVE BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $50,000  –  Video prize $5,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Video by Noel Robinson)

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Video by Noel Robinson)

Mark Healey & Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.

     (Video by Dwayne Fetch)

Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 8, 2009.

     (Video by Marc Beaty/Surfline)

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010

     (Video by Aaron Lieber)

FIVE BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

Ross Clarke-Jones (Torquay, Vic., Australia) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 25, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder and Bruno Lemos.  Video by Elliot Leboe.)

Danilo Couto (Bahia, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 25, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder and Batel Shimi.  Video by Chris Tronolone.)

Makua Rothman (Sunset Beach, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 11, 2010. 

     (Photos by Erik Aeder, Tracy Kraft, Bruno Lemos and Zak Noyle.  Video by Tim Bonython and Elliot Leboe.)

Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.

     (Photos by Erik Aeder, Jeff Flindt, Sean Hower, Fred Pompermayer and Batel Shimi.)

Ian Walsh (Kuau, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 11, 2010.

     (Photo by Tim McKenna.  Video by Tim Bonython and Elliot Leboe.)

FIVE MONSTER PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $15,000  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Robert Brown, Tom Cozad, Art Gimbel, Todd Glaser, Ed Grant, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte. Video by Curt Myers, Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13. 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Robert Brown, Todd Glaser, Guerin Myall, Fred Pompermayer, Tyler Fox and Seth Migdail.  Video by Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Mark Healey & Shane Dorian (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009.    

     (Photos by Bidu, Brent Bielmann, Todd Glaser and Shorty.  Video by Dwayne Fetch and Thomas Jamur.)

Alex Martins (San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Scott Eggers, Art Gimbel, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte.  Video by Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay on December 8, 2009.

     (Photos by Bidu, Jeremiah Klein, Pete Freiden, Scott Soens, Pete Hodgson, Brent Bielmann.  Video by Mark Beaty/Surfline and Bruce Walker.)

FIVE MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD NOMINEES

     (Surfer prize $5,000  – Still Photography prize $2,000)

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Doug Acton, Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer, and Frank Quirarte.)

Manoa Drollet (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010. 

     (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Ben Thouard)

Rusty Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010.

     (Photos by Don Montgomery, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte)

Mark Mathews (Maroubra, NSW, Australia) at The Right, Western Australia on June 15, 2009.

     (Photos by Calum Macaulay and Shorty.)

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010. 

     (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Ben Thouard)

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

For a further details on all the nominees see the official media release below.

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For an array of Ride of the Year clips which you can view or embed on your own website, see www.YouTube.com/surfnews.

Please join the Billabong XXL Facebook fan site at http://www.facebook.com/GLOBALBIGWAVEAWARDS.

Media outlets requiring additional materials for longer-form coverage Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards may request additional high-resolution images and HD video.

***********************

Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel:              +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax:             +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile:         +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:           lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

NOMINEES REVEALED FOR 2010 BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS

The Biggest Waves and Best Rides from Around the World Vie for $130,000 as 

Surfing’s Top Big Wave Event Prepares for Annual Awards Ceremony on April 23

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (APRIL 2, 2010) — The finalists for the 2010 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy were announced today in the wake of one of the greatest years in surfing history.  Following 12 months of enormous swell events from South Africa to Hawaii to Australia to California to Mexico to Tahiti and beyond, over 1000 entered images have been distilled down to this year’s elite nominations.  Video and still images of all the top rides are now available for viewing on the updated event website at BillabongXXL.com.

The winners 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 event website and will also be the focus of a one-hour television special airing on the ESPN networks starting on the evening of May 18.

The top prize in this Oscars of surfing — the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Award — carries a $50,000 prize for the surfer with the single most amazing performance on a big wave captured on video.  This year features an array of epic rides and an overriding theme as four out of five nominations went to paddle-in waves, reflecting the top surfers’ insistence on returning to their roots and depending less on jet powered watercraft (tow-in) assists.

Two of the entries took place at Maverick’s in Northern California on a record-breaking swell in February with South African Grant Baker and Hawaiian Shane Dorian demonstrating two different ways to score “perfect” rides.  Another pair of nominations came from the legendary Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii during an equally fabled swell last December.  Ramon Navarro of Chile deservedly received a nomination for his huge backside slide during the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau contest, a feat which earned a perfect score in that event.  Also being recognized from that swell is the first dual surfer nomination for a single ride in XXL history — the iconic Waimea closeout set caught and ridden by Hawaiian watermen Mark Healey and Shane Dorian.  (Dorian is the first surfer to ever be credited with TWO waves as a finalist in the same category.)  The remaining Ride of the Year nomination was grabbed by Raimana Van Bastolaer, who precisely used a watercraft assist in the final days of the annual event period to penetrate deep inside the frothy interior of a turbulent tube at his local break of Teahupoo, Tahiti. 

The 2010 Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award category features the first entries in half a decade from one of the most famous big wave venues of all, Jaws (a.k.a. Pe’ahi) on the North Shore of Maui.  After many seasons of sub-par swell and weather, the El Nino winter of 09/10 saw the break come back to XXL prominence in a very big way — all five rides nominated in the Biggest Wave division were ridden at that break over the course of three huge swells in December and January. A trio of the surfers are past XXL nominees (Ross Clarke-Jones of Australia, Danilo Couto of Brazil and Ian Walsh of Maui) and one is a past winner, 2003 XXL champion Makua Rothman of Sunset Beach, Hawaii.  All were caught with the assistance of a watercraft.   One of the five XXL Biggest Wave nominees will receive $15,000, a Honda Aquatrax watercraft and a HSA rescue sled in honor of their accomplishment. 

The wildcard in this year’s XXL Biggest Wave proceedings is a surfer named Sebastian Steudtner of Nuremburg, Germany who towed into a clear nomination by charging left on one of the biggest waves of the day on December 7, 2009.  Despite four years of Jaws apprenticeship, Steudtner was a virtually unknown quantity in the big wave world until this life-changing ride pushed him to instant celebrity. 

But this year, all eyes have been on the Monster Paddle division as a continuing obsession to push the limits of human powered surfing has gripped the athletes at the pinnacle of the sport, putting all past records at risk.  Indeed, three of the Monster Paddle nominees are also Ride of the Year finalists; those by Grant Baker at Maverick’s along with the Ramon Navarro and Healey/Dorian waves at Waimea.  Also joining the fray are a pair of huge Maverick’s faces ridden by Californians Shawn Dollar and Alex Martins on February 13, 2010, the day of the Maverick’s Surf Contest.  Some $15,000 is at stake for the largest wave caught by arm-power alone.

The Monster Tube Award features a number of amazing still images of the most stunning barrel moments photographed in the last year.  In contention are a pair of giant caverns at Maverick’s (featuring California’s Rusty Long and yet another nomination for Grant “Twiggy” Baker).  Australia’s Mark Mathews is in the mix for his casual glide through an unspeakably thick cave in Western Australia.  The final two nominees came from the last-minute Teahupoo swell which threw the entire short list of potential finalists into the trash bin once super locals Manoa Drollet and Raimana Van Bastolaer were photographed negotiating some truly monstrous Monster Tubes.

Next week nominations will be announced in additional Billabong XXL categories including the Surfline Best Overall performance, Billabong Girls Performance and the Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year.

In all, over $130,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this 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.

*********************

PRESS CONTACT
Bill Sharp
surfnewsed@aol.com
001-949-548-6740

HUGE TAHITI SWELL ROCKS CLOSING DAYS OF 2010 BILLABONG XXL BIG WAVE EVENT

March 24th, 2010 No comments

XXL 1003 - BillabongXXLDorianTahiti -  framed 500 
NOMINEES ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK, AWARDS CEREMONY IN CALIFORNIA APRIL 23

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (March 23, 2010) – The annual event period for the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy coincided with the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter last Saturday – but a last-minute off-season swell slamming Tahiti has turned the competition upside down with a fresh influx of stunning big wave images.  The largest waves seen there in three years (and some of the heaviest tubes ever photographed) heaved across the legendary reef at Teahupoo on March 17, scraping in under today’s final deadline for entering images into the XXL event.

For the first time in the ten-year history of the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, a swell with the power to rearrange the potential nominees has come in the final week of the year-long competition.  A unique event in surfing, the XXL honours the greatest achievements in big wave riding anywhere in the world at any time — based on the photographic evidence. Generally, the short list of Billabong XXL Awards nominees has firmed up by late March, a time when the North Pacific and Atlantic are settled down for the season and the South Seas have yet to come to life.  But in a year of high surf superlatives, it should not have come as a surprise that an off-season game-changer would suddenly appear.

“It’s really, really rare to get a big swell this early in March,” said Sean Collins of Surfline.com, the official surf forecaster of the XXL.  “It could be El Nino-related as there’s already been lots of tropical activity in the South Pacific, all of which serves to supercharge these storms – like what we’ve seen in a few of our North Pacific swells this winter.”

Standouts at the all-star Teahupoo session included Tahitian locals Manoa Drollet and Raimana Van Bastolaer along with Hawaiians Shane Dorian and Ian Walsh.   The newest Ride of the Year entries can be viewed at the event website at http://www.billabongxxl.com/roty/index.html where they join video clips of epic moments of the last year at spots like Tasmania’s Shipstern Bluff, Maverick’s in California and Waimea Bay and Jaws in Hawaii.

Almost certainly the still photos of the day will weigh heavily in the nominations for Monster Tube, the award for the most intense barrel image of the year.  A gallery of those shots can be viewed at http://www.billabongxxl.com/monster_tube/index.html.

Nominations will be announced in all the key event divisions starting next week, with the gala Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards ceremony taking place April 23 at the Grove Theatre in Anaheim, California. Featured categories include the Ride of the Year, XXL Biggest Wave, Monster Paddle-In, Monster Tube, Surfline Best Performance, Billabong Girls Performance and the Verizon Wipeout Award.  The event features over $130,000 in prize money and will be televised on the ESPN Networks starting May 18, 2010.

The Tenth Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy.  Surfline is the official surf forecaster, Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Honda Aquatrax the official watercraft.  The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui.

Ends

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For an array of Ride of the Year clips which you can view or embed on your own website, see www.YouTube.com/surfnews.

Please join the Billabong XXL Facebook fan site at http://www.facebook.com/GLOBALBIGWAVEAWARDS.

Media outlets requiring additional materials for longer-form coverage Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards may request additional high-resolution images and HD video.

***********************

PRESS CONTACT

Bill Sharp

surfnewsed@aol.com

949-548-6740

Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications

PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel:              +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax:             +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile:         +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:           lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Paddle-In Rides Lead the Historic Action as Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards Reach 2010 Climax

March 3rd, 2010 No comments

AN EPIC YEAR NEARS ITS CLIMAX IN THE BILLABONG XXL BIG WAVE AWARDS;

2010 EVENT WINDOW ENDS MARCH 19, AWARDS CEREMONY SET FOR APRIL 23

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (March 3, 2010) – Reports of an expanding El Nino weather condition built expectations last year of a spectacular big wave season to come.  And, remarkably, the oceans of the world have responded on cue, delivering an almost endless procession of epic swells and superlative rides by the world’s best big wave riders.  With only two weeks left before the annual event window closes for the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, the visual evidence is widespread and conclusive – this was the greatest winter of big wave surfing ever experienced.

To date, over 1000 still and video images have been entered into the Tenth Annual Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, where they may be viewed at the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.  The event window runs through the vernal equinox (the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter on March 19).  The gala invitation-only Billabong XXL Awards show will take place April 23 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California and features over $130,000 in prize money.  The event will be televised on the ESPN Networks starting May 18, 2010.

By far the biggest theme in this year’s event has been a dramatic push by the sport’s elite to resist the the advantage of tow-surfing’s jet powered assist and return to the roots of the sport – paddling into the biggest waves possible using arm power and bravery alone.  The trend has intertwined with a spectacular run of El Nino-fueled swells which have allowed an unprecedented number of one-day big wave paddle events to run worldwide, including the Billabong Pico Alto in July, the Nelscott Reef Classic in October, the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau in December, the Maverick’s Surf Contest in mid-February and the Todos Santos Big Wave Event just last weekend.

The Billabong XXL Awards include the biggest and best waves ridden all over the world over the course of an entire year, encompassing those caught during surf contests and those rides which happen in the middle of nowhere – provided there is photographic proof.  And this year (for the first time ever in the XXL’s ten years of existence) the vast bulk of the entries are in the Monster Paddle division.  And not only do the entries come from the known-paddle arenas such as Hawaii’s Waimea Bay, Maverick’s in California and Todos Santos, Mexico, they are coming from places which were not long ago considered only possible with a jet ski, including Jaws on Maui, the Cortes Bank 100 miles off California and an assortment of rare outer reefs along Oahu’s North Shore.  No matter when or where, this year surfing’s elite have been “armed” and ready for action.

“Anybody who has paddled and towed into big waves will tell you that paddling in is the ultimate challenge, there’s no other feeling or experience like that,” said Greg Long of San Clemente, California, who has won more XXL categories than any other surfer.  “Personal watercraft came in and sort of revolutionized the sport there for a couple of years and introduced a whole new aspect to the sport.  But right now, everybody’s focus I think has really gone back to paddling into waves and pushing the limits of what’s actually doable.

“With the advancements in forecasting technology, our understanding of the waves, physically what we’re capable of enduring when we wipeout, and then our equipment — the whole limit of what is possible has just been elevated to new heights,” said Long.  “I still think we’re yet to find where any of those limits are.”

To see an assortment of the latest entries in all the key event categories including Monster Paddle, Monster Tube, Biggest Wave and Ride of the Year, visit www.BillabongXXL.com.

For an array of Ride of the Year clips which you can view or embed on your own website, see

www.YouTube.com/surfnews.

And while you’re at it, join the Billabong XXL Facebook fan site at http://www.facebook.com/GLOBALBIGWAVEAWARDS.

The Tenth Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy.  Surfline is the official surf forecaster, Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Honda Aquatrax the official watercraft.  The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui.

Media outlets requiring additional materials for longer-form coverage of the paddle push in big wave surfing or any other aspects of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards may request additional high-resolution images and HD video.

***********************

PRESS CONTACT

Bill Sharp  

surfnewsed@aol.com

949-548-6740

MONSTER PADDLE WAVES SHATTER BILLABONG XXL BIG WAVE RECORDS

January 8th, 2010 No comments

BillabongXXLDorianHealeyWaimeaSM

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (January 8, 2009) — The promise of the El Nino winter appears to have delivered for big wave surfers, as many long-standing records are ready to fall in this year’s Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy. And more than ever before, the Monster Paddle category (just for surfers who catch their waves without any jet ski assistance) has taken center stage as the elite of the sport refocus on this elemental man-against-the-sea tradition. Visual evidence of these landmark performances can be viewed at the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.

While huge swells have blasted nearly every coastline of the planet in recent months, it has been the Hawaiian Islands which have had the most mind-bending proof of the power of the current El Nino weather phenomenon. December 7-8, 2009 saw one of the biggest swells in modern history batter the northern shores of the entire Hawaiian Chain, followed by another extraordinary day of outer reef waves on Christmas. From these historic moments of oceanic grandeur have come images which show several top big wave surfers paddling into what may well be the biggest waves ever caught by human power in the long history of the sport.

Among these superlative rides is a massive dark wall caught by Shane Dorian and Mark Healey which closed out the legendary Waimea Bay on Oahu on December 7. Also up for consideration is another mammoth peak at Waimea ridden by Chile’s Ramon Navarro which earned the South American hero a perfect score in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau event on December 8. And more recently, grainy, documentary photos have arrived depicting Garrett McNamara paddling into a distant peak at Outer Log Cabins, a rarely-seen outer reef far off the North Shore shoreline, previously only the domain of tow-in surfers with jet-powered watercraft.

All are likely to figure prominently as finalists for the Monster Paddle Award to be given out at the tenth annual Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards to be held in California in late April. A panel of big wave surfing and photography experts will analyze the available images and by interpreting the known sizes of the surfers and their surfboards, calculate reliable height estimates for the face of each wave. One will emerge as the Monster Paddle winner and will receive $15,000 out of the total event purse of $130,000.

The current world record for a paddle-in wave belongs to Taylor Knox of San Diego, California who rode a wave measured at 52 feet at Todos Santos Island off of Ensenada, Mexico during the last major El Nino episode in 1998. Many experts are expecting an update to the Guinness Book of World Records once this winter’s measurements are complete.

Dorian and Healey are veterans of decades of big wave hunting and both concur that their shared ride at Waimea was easily the biggest either had ever caught. “I’d been waiting 15 years for that wave,” said Dorian, of Kona, on the Big Island. “That wave, we could see it from when it was like two or three minutes away from breaking, we could see the wave coming in, everybody’s screaming on the beach and yelling and stuff… When the wave finally came in, it was SO big. The thing was a MONSTER. We both put our heads down and started paddling and somehow we both caught it.

“I was going no matter what,” Dorian added. “And I know Mark felt the same way. It was just fun. A party wave — a wave of that size, and it was for sure the biggest wave I’ve ever paddled into, and to do it with my real good friend, it was very….memorable.”

Mark Healey has lived down the road from Waimea all his life and has been one of its most dedicated practitioners. But he’d never seen waves like this.

“That was the biggest day I’ve ever had at Waimea,” said Healey. “And that wave in particular was definitely by far bigger than anything I’ve ever caught out there, for sure.”

The wave was so large it closed out all the way across the Bay, not allowing the surfers the opportunity to kick out over the top of the wave as usual, and forcing them to straighten out and take the endless tons of whitewater on their heads. But for Healey, a renowned freediver with the ability to hold his breath for over five minutes, it was a fun experience. The longtime friends surfaced unharmed right next to each other, hooting with excitement.

“We were pretty stoked,” said Healey. “Big waves are different, there’s a lot of brotherhood involved, stuff like that. I’d rather have had Shane catch that wave than ride it alone. It was cool to share a wave like that with a friend, and someone I look up to.”

McNamara, another North Shore stalwart, likes his own chances in the Monster Paddle derby. A past winner of the XXL Paddle crown in 2007 for a huge wave at Northern California’s Maverick’s, “GMac” reckons his Outer Logs Christmas present was several notches larger. “I don’t know how big it was,” McNamara said. “But I do know it felt at least ten feet bigger than anything I’ve ever paddled into. The Mavs wave a few years back was small compared to it….”

Remarkably, there may be much, much more to come. This week the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center issued an alert confirming that the current El Nino episode had intensified in the last 30 days from “moderate” to “strong,” adding that the condition would exert a “significant influence on the global weather and climate in the coming months.” And for surfers in the North Pacific basin, that means more enormous waves. According to Surfline.com, major new swell events are lining up in the coming days, impacting the Hawaiian Islands around Monday and the West Coast around Wednesday of next week.

Categories in this year’s event include the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year, XXL Biggest Wave, Monster Paddle, Monster Tube, Surfline Best Performance, Billabong Girls Best Performance and the crowd-pleasing Verizon Wireless Wipeout of the Year. In addition to all the latest entries in each category, full event details including formats, rules and archives of past XXL years can be seen at the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.

The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy. Surfline is the official surf forecast, Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Honda Aquatrax the official watercraft. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui airlines.

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To view a clip of the Shane Dorian/Mark Healey Waimea Monster or to obtain embed codes to
place it on your website, click on:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1QMjn8Wu_E

Media Contact

Bill Sharp SurfNewsEd@aol.com 949-548-6740

High resolution still photos, broadcast video in HD and SD and web clips are available for download.

Greg Long Wins Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay + Twiggy 15th

December 9th, 2009 No comments

Pictured: Greg Long in action at Waimea Bay on his way to victory in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. Photo: ASP / Cestari

WAIMEA BAY, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, December 8, 2009) – After 25 years with most of those spent waiting, Waimea Bay delivered an event of legendary proportions today at the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster Energy. It was 25 years to the day since the first “Eddie” was held and waves of up to 50 feet poured in to Oahu’s North Shore as if on cue.

With younger brother Clyde still in the lineup, at age 60, joined by the contemporary top guns of big wave riding, a packed arena celebrated every gutsy ride in brilliant sunshine befitting of a tribute to local hero Eddie Aikau.

When all was said and done, it was California’s Greg Long, 26, (California) who made a late charge in the final heat of the day to claim the $55,000 winner’s purse. Long committed to an unbelievable never-say-die attack, securing all four of his top scores – several of them death-defying and one of them a perfect 100-point ride, in macking 40- to 50-foot waves. It was the high point of his career to-date – pretty incredible given that he only rode Waimea for the first time this week.

“I’m so happy just to be here, invited into the biggest event of big waves in the world with all my heroes, I’m so excited,” said Long.

“It’s a dream come true for me. Riding big waves is my passion and I’ve been following The Eddie since I knew exactly what it was, I was probably 12-years-old just getting into surfing. Since then, I’ve had every single poster from Brock Little to Bruce Irons on my wall. I look to those guys for inspiration and to be standing up here with Sunny (Garcia) and Kelly Slater is a dream come true for me. I never would have thought that this is my first year surfing the event and to come away with a victory is really a childhood dream become real.

“I’m still standing here in awe and I want to go check the scores to make sure someone isn’t going to come here and take this away.

“It really is about the wave and celebrating the ocean. It’s what we do: go out there and ride big waves. The respect and camaraderie in the lineup you don’t find in too many places in the world, and this event really encapsulates everything that’s great about surfing: the friendships you make in the water and looking out for one another.”

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker became the first South African to compete in the legendary big wave event and rode the first wave of the day in Heat 1. The Durbanite went on to finish 15th overall.

The Monster Drop Award, for the most hellacious-but-successful takeoff of the contest, went to Chile’s Ramon Navarro, who also finished fifth overall. This is his first time as an invitee into the event. Navarro’s winning wave was one of the last of the competition; a huge, seemingly endless drop on his backhand, followed by a detonation of whitewater that he emerged from and then stuck with all the way to the beach. He earned a perfect 100 points.

Navarro first came in 2004 to surf Waimea with an invitation from good friend and fellow contestant today, Kohl Christensen. He baked empanadas and sold them to pay his rent and learn the ropes. Today was pay day. Navarro won $10,000 for the Monster Drop Award, and $2,000 for fifth place. It was a great result for someone who almost didn’t surf today after his pregnant wife was accidentally injured on the beach.

“This is a dream for me,” said Navarro. “I want to say thank you to Kohl Christensen, Dusty Middleton and all the crew because those are the guys that invited me here and taught me how to surf The Bay. I appreciate everything from these guys.”

Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Florida, USA), who won here back in January of 2002, placed second after leading the score board from the second heat of the day. Long turned the tables on him in the final hour of competition. All Slater could do was look on in as much disbelief as the frenzied crowd who were at that point ready to celebrate with anyone. Slater earned $10,000. Third was Hawaii’s Sunny Garcia, earning $3,000. Fourth was defending Eddie champion Bruce Irons (Kauai), $3,000.

Navarro’s buddy Christensen can lay claim to the most devastating wipeout of the day that remains burned in every mind here today. He also posted several solid scores, but a wipeout like his is as unforgettable as a win.

The call to wait for today and the ensuing result was mind-boggling, especially since many were questioning not running yesterday in 40-foot surf. By afternoon, all concerned were stunned that 79-year-old contest director and big wave icon George Downing had kept his cool so well and timed it perfectly for a second peak in swell energy. The past 48 hours of massive surf is the largest sustained episode to hit the Hawaiian Islands in 40 years.

From the moment the event was declared “on” at dawn, to the final gut-wrenching wipeouts that came with the peaking swell of afternoon, the air was filled with salt spray and adrenaline. Not a square foot of sand or lava rock was empty as a capacity crowd of over 50,000 packed the natural amphitheater of Waimea Bay to experience the pairing of Mother Nature and the men who ride her mountainous surf.

The insane wipeouts that dropped like dominoes, the hairball air drops and perfect scores, the 28 surfers of the event who put their lives on the line in honor of Aikau today – it all made for the greatest day of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau’s history.

Waimea Bay’s best known big-wave rider and first life-guard, Eddie Aikau, was smiling down on his successors today. Along with the surfers, he would have admired Hawaiian Water Patrol for keeping the lineup and the surfers safe all day yesterday and today. There is no greater collection of guardian angels of the sea than the lifeguards of the North Shore.

The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster Energy, is the only ASP sanctioned big wave event in the world.

Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau
Results

1 Greg Long (California)
2 Kelly Slater (Florida)
3 Sunny Garcia (Hawaii)
4 Bruce Irons (Hawaii)
5 Ramon Navarro (Chile) * Monster Drop Award
6 Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia)
7 Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii)
8 Mark Healey (Hawaii)
9 Garret McNamara (Hawaii)
10 Noah Johnson (Hawaii)
11 Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
12 Makuakai Rothman (Hawaii)
13 Reef McIntosh (Hawaii)
14 Andy Irons (Hawaii)
15 Grant Baker (South Africa)
16 Carlos Burle (Brazil)
17 Kohl Christensen (Hawaii)
18 Kala Alexander (Hawaii)
19 Peter Mel (USA)
20 Takayuki Wakita (Japan)
21 Ibon Amatriain (Spain)
22 Clyde Aikau (Hawaii)
23 Keone Downing (Hawaii)
24 Mike Ho (Hawaii)
25 Darryl ‘Flea’ Virostko (USA)
26 Brian Keaulana (Hawaii)
27 Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii)
28 Pancho Sullivan (Hawaii)

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

Ends

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: aspafrica@mweb.co.za

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax: +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

About ASP:
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the governing body of professional surfing. Crowning surfing’s undisputed world champions since 1976, the ASP sanctions the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and the World Longboarding, Junior and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.

Travis re-qualifies + Sunset delivers + Mammoth surf

December 8th, 2009 No comments

Pictured: Invitees and alternates in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau were out practising at Waimea Bay in Hawaii yesterday as wave reached heights of 13 metres (40 foot)

Tuesday 8 December 2009 – South Africa’s Travis Logie has qualified for the 2010 ASP World Tour, professional surfing’s highest level of competition, after a gruelling campaign that saw him finish No. 13 in the yearend ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) rankings.

Logie, who spent four years amongst the world’s top 45 ranked surfers before dropping of the Dream Tour at the end of 2008, went into the final two WQS events in Hawaii ranked No. 11 and needing to advance through one heat to ensure his spot in the Top 15.

Elimination in his opening heats in both events left the 30-year-old Durbanite waiting on the sidelines as first Tanner Gudauskas (USA) and then Dusty Payne (HAW) overtook him. But the rest of his closest rivals were ousted in the subsequent rounds at Sunset Beach and Logie secured a well deserved place back at competitive surfing’s top table.

“I’m really stoked that all the hard work, training and travelling has paid off,” Logie said, shortly after arriving back in South Africa. “I’m really excited to be back on the tour for what will be my fifth year.”

Logie’s commitment to re-qualifying saw him compete in 21 of the 41 events on the 2009 WQS, the highest number by a South African and a total matched by only four of the nearly 1 000 other WQS members worldwide. He clinched a confidence-boosting victory in a 2-Star rated event in Australia early in the campaign before netting his biggest points haul in his home town when he placed 5th in the 6-Star Prime rated Quiksilver Pro Durban in April.

ASP World Tour title contenders Joel Parkinson and fellow Australian Mick Fanning along with Hawaiians Sunny Garcia and Dusty Payne fought out the final of the 6-Star rated O’Neill World Cup of Surfing in tricky 3 – 4 metre waves at Sunset Beach. Garcia, the 40-year-old veteran chasing a record 7th Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, opened his account with an incredible tube ride than earned him 9.47 points out of a possible 10 but could not find a second high scoring ride.

Parkinson clinched victory with rides of 7.0 and 6.17, matching Hawaiian legend Michael Ho’s record of three wins in the World Cup, and rocketed into the lead in the Triple Crown ratings, which he won last year. Garcia held on for second place in the event, which earned him a wildcard into the Billabong Pipeline Masters, with Fanning third and Payne a distant fourth.

Damien Fahrenfort posted the best results by a South African in the event, winning his opening encounter and then recording the highest heat total of Day 3, and the sixth highest total of the entire event – 16.27 out of 20 – before being ousted in the Round of 64.

Brandon Jackson went into the Hawaiian leg rated No. 15 on the WQS and in contention for an ASP World Tour spot. Like Logie, Jackson could not advance out of his first heats at Haleiwa and Sunset and dropped to No. 24 in the yearend rankings, which will give the 22-year-old from Durban North excellent seeding for the WQS contests in the first six months of 2010.

Royden Bryson (Cape Town) advanced through one heat at Haleiwa and none at Sunset to end the year ranked No. 36. Fahrenfort came in at No. 67 and Rudy Palmboom (Bluff), who won both his opening match-ups in Hawaii but was then eliminated in the Round of 96, closed his 2009 campaign rated No. 81.

Warwick Wright (Durban) was the highest ranked of the Saffas who did not compete in Hawaii at No. 81, followed by Antonio Bortoletto (Durban) at No. 87 and Daniel Redman (Umdloti) just outside the top 100 at No. 105

O’Neill World Cup of Surfing (Event No. 41 of 41)
Sunset Beach, Hawaii
Results:
Final:
1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) – $20,000 – 3,500 points
2. Sunny Garcia (HAW) – $10,000 – 3,063 points
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) – $5,100 – 2,625 points
4. Dusty Payne (HAW) – $4,900 – 2,494 points

ASP World Qualifying Series
2009 Yearend Rankings

1 Ross,Daniel AUS 15744
2 Gudauskas,Patrick USA 14876
3 Andre,Jadson BRA 14813
4 Melling,Adam AUS 14638
5 Wright,Owen AUS 14338
6 Munro,Luke AUS 13713
7 Thompson,Jay AUS 13638
8 Yeomans,Nathan USA 13419
9 Payne,Dusty HAW 13194
10 Simpson,Brett USA 13150
11 Wilkinson,Matt AUS 12850
12 Gudauskas,Tanner USA 12569
13 Logie,Travis ZAF 12344
14 Polo,Marco BRA 12331
15 Thornton,Blake AUS 12325

South Africans (in the top 150)

24 Jackson,Brandon ZAF 11431
36 Bryson,Royden ZAF 10213
67 Fahrenfort,Damien ZAF 8222
74 Palmboom,Rudy ZAF 7875
81 Wright,Warwick ZAF 7550
87 Bortoletto,Antonio ZAF 7101
105 Redman,Daniel ZAF 6451
125 Smith,Jordy ZAF 5644
130 Basnett,Ricky ZAF 5551
147 Richards,David ZAF 5246

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Billabong Pipeline Masters
Stop No. 10 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour
Pipeline, Oahu/Hawaii
December 8 – 20, 2009

Fanning and Parkinson face off at Pipeline for 2009 ASP World Title

After nine events on the 2009 ASP Dream Tour, the race for the ASP World Title will culminate in a showdown between two lifelong friends at the final event of the season, the Billabong Pipeline Masters, which will also decide the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, from December 8 – 20, 2009.

Mick Fanning, 28, former ASP World Champion (2007) and current ASP World No. 1, will face Gold Coast stable mate and current ASP World No. 2, Joel Parkinson, 28, in the hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title as the two battle a minefield of the world’s best surfers and Pipe specialists at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

While the rest of the Top 45 fight for ratings points and prize-money and the 16 Pipeline specialists battle for prestige, only Fanning and Parkinson can win the 2009 ASP World title, with Parko having to finish two places ahead to overtake the current No. 1.

Jordy Smith, the current ASP No. 10, has been seeded into Round 3 of the event and will be going all-out to improve his yearend ranking. A top 8 finish in the ratings will see the 21-year-old Durbanite guaranteed of preferential seeding for the entire 2010 season while a top 5 place will earn significant performance bonuses from his sponsors.

Greg Emslie, rated No. 31 and just 137 points shy of the No. 27 spot that will automatically qualify for the 2010 Dream Tour, starts in Round 2. The East London based veteran campaigner needs to advance to Round 3 to have any chance of an incredible 10th year in the top fight, while progressing to the last 16 will probably ensure him of a spot.

David Weare occupies the No. 41 position and still has a mathematical chance of requalifying. But the Durbanite starts in Round 1 against Pipe standout Hank Gaskell, who won the Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach last month, and Weare faces the daunting task of having to place first or second at Pipeline to move into the Top 27 in the rankings.

All the action from the Billabong Pipeline Masters can be followed live at www.billabongpro.com starting at 8pm (SA time) daily.

The massive swell currently pounding the North Shore of Oahu has scoured all the sand off the Pipeline Reef which should produce epic waves for the event. While the waiting period starts today and runs until 20 December, it is unlikely that the event will get underway before the swell starts to drop on Thursday.

See www.aspafrica.com for more details on the Billabong Pipeline Masters, including the draw for the first three rounds.

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Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines
Stop No. 7 of 7 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour
Honolua Bay, Maui/Hawaii
December 8 – 20, 2009

Rosanne Hodge in contention to requalify for 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour

The Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines will kick off the event’s 13 day waiting period tomorrow and the globe’s finest 17 competitive female surfers will take on Maui’s famed righthand pointbreak of Honolua Bay to do battle for the Vans Triple Crown title as well as the valuable ratings points towards requalification for the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour.

Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) has already clinched an unprecedented third straight ASP Women’s World Title in just her third year on the tour and Hawaiian teenager Alana Blanchard leads the Triple Crown ratings.

South African eyes will be focused on Rosanne Hodge, 22, from East London who is currently ranked No. 9 and needs to finish in the Top 10 on the yearend leaderboard to requalify for a fourth successive year on the ASP Women’s World Tour.

Hodge has finished third and fifth in her last two years in this event and needs to stave off the challenge of the eight girls currently ranked behind her to remain at the highest level of women’s surfing.

Attention will also be on the performances of Coco Ho (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL) and Rebecca Woods (AUS). If that trio all end in the Top 10 in the yearend rankings, then South Africa’s Nikita Robb, who finished the year ranked No. 9 of the Women’s WQS, will qualify for her first year on the ASP Women’s World Tour, potentially giving SA two representatives on the Women’s Dream Tour for the first time since it was introduced in 1992.

All the action can be followed live at www.billabongpro.com/maui09/ and the waiting period runs from today until 20 December.

++++++++++++++

Quiksilver Eddie Aikau set to run as MAMMOTH waves hit Hawaii

The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, fueled by Monster Energy, the only big wave contest to be sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is set to run at Waimea Bay in Hawaii today as mammoth waves in the 8-13 metre range (25-40 foot) batter the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii.

Featuring 28 selected invitees, including South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, and 26 alternates, all drawn from amongst the world’s best big wave chargers, the ‘Eddie’ honours the memory of legendary Hawaiian surfer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau.

The event is on standby to start at 7pm (SA time) tonight and further details, including a live webcast of the action, profiles of the athletes, history of the event and much more can be found at http://live.quiksilver.com/2009/eddie/

Ends

Photo courtesy Quiksilver

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: aspafrica@mweb.co.za

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Fax: +27 (0) 86 684 6250
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

About ASP:
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the governing body of professional surfing. Crowning surfing’s undisputed world champions since 1976, the ASP sanctions the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and the World Longboarding, Junior and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.