• Billabong XXL - Global Big Wave Awards - Danilo Couto, Shane Dorian, Benjamin, Sanchis, Sion Milosky

DANILO COUTO TAKES RIDE OF THE YEAR AT BILLABONG XXL AWARDS
SHANE DORIAN SETS MONSTER PADDLE RECORD WITH 57-FOOTER
BENJAMIN SANCHIS TOOK TOP HONORS FOR THE BIGGEST WAVE AWARD WITH A WAVE MEASURED AT 67 FEET ON THE FACE


Paddle-in Waves at Jaws, Maui Dominate 2011 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards
Kauai Surfer Sion Milosky Posthumously Wins Best Performance Honors

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.

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.

www.billabongxxl.com

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