It’s that magical time of year when the WSL’s Big Wave Tour season draws to a close, the Big Wave Award nominees are announced and everyone argues over who deserves what. Well, perhaps they wouldn’t—not publicly, at least—if it wasn’t for surfing’s beloved resident shit stirrer Albee Layer, who took to Instagram to voice his opinion on the list of nominees, which include incomplete rides in the Ride of the Year category from Big Wave Tour champions Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Billy Kemper (click here to see the full nominee list).
As you may recall, this whole debate over the relevance of incomplete rides in big-wave surfing was first sparked when Kemper caught his now-nominated wave during the Peahi Challenge last November. After the final, which Kemper won for pulling into two massive tubes that he failed to find an exit from, Layer took to social media to say that fellow finalist Kai Lenny should have won for his two completed rides.
In Layer’s post about the nominations, which you can read in its entirety below, he points to his own completed Jaws barrel, Bianca Valenti’s Puerto Escondido bomb and Nic von Rupp’s pivotal left-hand barrel at Mavericks as eyebrow-raising omissions from the nominee list. As you’ll see in the comment section of Layer’s post, many elite big-wave riders have some choice thoughts of their own.
So what do you think? Should a big wave be ridden to completion to be considered a potential “Ride of the Year”, or is the white-knuckle drama of a non-make like Twiggy and Kemper’s enough to warrant their inclusion over other completed rides? Read Albee’s post below, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
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@wsl @wslbigwave award nominations are in haha. Every year I think it'll be different and I end up feeling just like Dwight above. Taking nothing away from any of the surfers nominated, they are all the best of best obviously but in my opinion falling shouldn't count and towing shouldn't be compared to paddling. I can't believe @biancavalenti and @nicvonrupp waves were no where (as well as my wave but that's probably just narcissism). I swear this needs to change, just for the longevity of our sport as a whole. We should encourage the next generation to SURF big waves not survive them. Just one persons thoughts on a subjective sport, if I offended you just take comfort in knowing I'm pouting from a hospital in a land locked state and won't be winning any awards. But also deal with it cause I'm going nowhere