Surfing Gladiators Honoured at 2009 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards
Grove Theatre Anaheim, CALIFORNIA ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ (April 17th 2009) BIG wave surfing took centre stage in California last night with the winners crowned at the ninth annual $USD130,000 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.
Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the XXL awards recognise the biggest and heaviest waves ridden over the past twelve months as judged by a global panel of 250 surf industry, former pros and big wave specialists.¬¨‚Ä† Over 2000 people packed the Grove Theatre in Anaheim to witness mind-blowing big wave antics from Chile, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, California and French Polynesia.¬¨‚Ä† ¬¨‚Ä†
Californian GREG LONG¬¨‚Ä† took top honours at the gala ceremony, awarded $USD 50,000 in the Ride Of The year Category.¬¨‚Ä† His entry came from a giant wave conquered at Dungeons, a revered big wave spot off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa.¬¨‚Ä† His dance with death inside a giant tube ride ended in glory for the talented big wave rider, who walked away not only with with the ride of a lifetime but 50 thousand dollars richer.
Long narrowly edged out RYAN HIPWOOD (Gold Coast), JAMES HOLMER-CROSS (Tasmania), GARRETT MCNAMARA (Hawaii) and BRIAN CONLEY (San Diego) for the victory.¬¨‚Ä† The¬¨‚Ä† 26-year-old LONG has now claimed five big wave awards in his career including; Ride Of The Year (08/09), the Biggest Wave Award (06/07), The Monster Paddle Award (07/08) and two Surfline Best Overallll Performance Awards (07/08 & 03/04) further proving himself as one of the most dedicated big wave riders on earth.¬¨‚Ä† ¬¨‚Ä†
It was a daily double for the State of California with San Diego local DEREK DUNFEE (dun-fay) winning the coveted Monster Paddle-In Award.¬¨‚Ä† Ridden during the giant session at Mavericks on November 30th 2008, which produced three of the five rides in the same category, DUNFEE used perfect positioning to complete a classic big wave ride.¬¨‚Ä† He edged out GRANT BAKER, fellow Californian NATHAN FLETCHER, South African JAMES TAYLOR and European charger AXI MUNIAIN (Acksy-Munaan) (Basque County ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ Northern Spain).¬¨‚Ä† ¬¨‚Ä†
South African GRANT ‚Äö?Ñ??TWIGGY‚Äö?Ñ?? BAKER was awarded two category honours in the 08/09 award ceremony, taking out both the XXL Biggest Wave Award and the Surfline Men‚Äö?Ñ?¥s Best Overall Performance.¬¨‚Ä† The victories came as a long overdue reward for 35-year-old Baker, who has been consistently nominated since the XXL awards‚Äö?Ñ?¥ inception, but had never taken out a category.
Hawaiian Mark Healey, 28, cemented his big wave surfing reputation with a win in the $5,000 Monster Tube Category, his first ever Billabong XXL award.¬¨‚Ä† During a swell run to a remote break in the Pacific Northwest, Healey towed into a crazy left slab at a break called Yeti.¬¨‚Ä† The Monster Tube ride beat equally impressive entries from Kerby Brown (Western Australia), Dylan Longbottom (Central Coast, NSW), Garrett McNamara (Hawaii) and Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast).
Brazilian big wave queen MAYA GABEIRA (RIO) maintained her stranglehold on the $5,000 Girls Best Overall Performance award by winning the category for a third consecutive year.¬¨‚Ä† The 22-year-old has continually pushed the boundaries of female big wave surfing over the past 12 months, basing herself in the Hawaiian islands and chasing swell events around the world with tow partner Carlos Burle.¬¨‚Ä† ¬¨‚Ä†
The Wipe Out Award went to Australian surfer Ross Clarke-Jones for a near-life ending battering at Pedra Branca, located off the Tasmanian coast.¬¨‚Ä† ¬¨‚Ä†
BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER $50,000: Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Dungeons, South Africa on July 26, 2008 ($5,000 Video by Fixerfilm/RedBull BWA)
SECOND $5,000: Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on October 11, 2008.¬¨‚Ä† (Video by Tim Bonython)
THIRD $1500: James Holmer-Cross (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on October 11, 2008. (Video by Dave Otto)
FOURTH $1500: Garrett McNamara (Sunset Beach, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on April 8, 2008 (Video by Simon Saffigna)
FIFTH $1500: Brian Conley (San Diego, California) at Boca Grande, Mexico on October 22, 2008. (Video by Brian Conley)
BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
(Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled¬¨‚Ä† -¬¨‚Ä† Photo/video prize $4,000)
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Tafelberg Reef, South Africa on August 9, 2008.
(Photos by Nic Bothma and Alan Van Gysen.¬¨‚Ä† Video by Fixerfilm/Hutchmotion.)
MONSTER PADDLE AWARD
(Surfer prize $15,000¬¨‚Ä† -¬¨‚Ä† Photo/video prize $4,000)
Derek Dunfee (San Diego, California, USA) at Maverick's, California on November 30, 2008.
(Photos by Robert Brown, Todd Glaser, Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte)
MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD NOMINEES
(Surfer prize $5,000¬¨‚Ä† -¬¨‚Ä† Photography prize $2,000)
Mark Healey (Sunset Beach, Hawaii, USA) at Yeti, Oregon on September 24, 2008.(Photo by Jason Murray)
BEST MALE OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD
(Surfer prize $5,000)
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa)
BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD
(Surfer prize $5,000)
Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)