SURF-A-PALOOZA: MAR. 21-28

DROP N JAW CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY – XXL STYLE: The real war hasn’t yet begun.

Last week news of an event that took place far, far away reached the shores of the USA. A swell had reached Europe of huge proportions. This happens enough, but this time a few hearty souls took advantage of the ideal conditions and towed into some absolutely mammoth waves at St. Jean.

In last weeks Palooza I commented, somewhat facetiously, that the wave at St. Jean was soft. Now I’ll be serious. No wave that size is soft. Those waves were massive. Pictures do not lie.

Or do they?

One thing is for sure, video doesn’t lie. So it was with eager anticipation that eight office comrades, and a few industry types, huddled around my cubicle to watch the QuickTime video of this session (you can download it from zumaprod.com). Reactions were mixed. One thing is for sure, the judges of this years Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards will have heated debate.

Of course every year they have a heated debate, mix eight surfers with roughly two cases of Foster’s and you can get a debate about which Spongebob Squarepants episode is the best. Add $60 thousand United States dollars and 60-foot waves to the mix and the environment will be charged. Add to that the roly-poly character of the wave at St. Jean and, well, I hope XXL officials bring a case of Altoids and plenty of spit guards, ’cause it will be explosive!

From a power perspective, St. Jean isn’t Jaws or Mavericks. It’s more like really big Cottons. Nevertheless, the XXL rules are very clear.

From the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards website:

The Billabong XXL Award will be won by the surfer who, by any means available, catches and successfully rides the single biggest wave of the winter based on analysis of the available images.

Notice the rules don’t say tallest (Read the judging methodology). The rules say biggest. What is a big wave? Is it simply the height? Or is a big wave a combination of the height, the tubular or heaving nature, and the mass? Is power to considered?