Last night the world’s most audacious wave riders and scantily-clad surf fans arrived at the Grove in Anaheim for the 2013 Billabong XXL Awards. What followed was an emotional look back at one of the most eventful years in the history of big-wave surfing. The massive swells ridden at Jaws, Cloudbreak, and Cortes Bank provided not only a glimpse into the future of big-wave surfing, and what these surfers are truly capable of achieving, but also a much more sobering look at the importance of water safety in this era of broken limits.
It was no surprise that Shane Dorian took top honors for his incredible performance at Jaws this winter, angling his way through massive barrels and onto the podium for both the Ride of the Year and Pacifico Tube awards. Shawn Dollar had a breakout session as well from a now infamous session at Cortes Bank. He not only caught the biggest wave of that day, but it was the biggest ever paddled, measuring in at 61 feet. For his efforts, he walked away with a few extra-large cardboard checks and both the Pacifico Paddle and XXL Biggest Wave awards.
More memorable than any wave conquered in the last year was the near-drowning of Greg Long after a wipeout and extended hold down at Cortes Bank. In a heartfelt acceptance speech for the Men’s Performance Award, Long expressed his gratitude to the surfers who came to his aid on the day, and the members of the Coast Guard who airlifted him to safety in the middle of the night. While it was a painful wakeup call, Long hopes it will lead to increased awareness and improved safety in waves of consequence.
For an in-depth look at how the events of this past year have molded the state of big-wave surfing today, click here to read Brad Melekian’s article “In Harm’s Way,” from our May issue.
2013 BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS
Presented by Pacifico
RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER: Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($50,000)
Video by Elliot Leboe ($5,000)
Second place: Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 ($5,000)
Third place: Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 10, 2012 ($1,500)
Fourth place: Dave Wassel (Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)
Fifth place: Reef McIntosh (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)
PACIFICO PADDLE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (Wave was 61ft, new paddle world record) ($20,000)
Photographed by Frank Quirarte ($4,000)
XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (First time a paddle surfer has won this category) ($10,000)
Photographed by Rob Keith ($4,000)
PACIFICO TUBE AWARD
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($5,000)
Photographed by Fred Pompermayer ($2,000)
SURFLINE MEN’S PERFORMANCE AWARD
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) ($5,000)
BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE
Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) ($5,000)
XXL WIPEOUT AWARD
Chris Shanahan (Denmark, WA, Australia) at The Right, West Australia ($2,000)
Video by Darren McCagh ($1,000)