The Billabong XXL Awards presented by Monster, an extravaganza dedicated to the hellmen and sadistic voyeurs that chase storms around the globe, has once again come and gone, and yes, once again the world's collective surfing minds have been blown. In atypical fashion, this year it was deep corners of the Southern Hemisphere and other obscure locales around the world that would steal the show. Places like Jaws, Waimea and Todos hardly made a peep due, for the most part the Aleutian power zone going, well, zonal for the better part of the winter. But like Rocky rising to the challenge against Apollo, the southern hemi and its outside Aussie bombies and medieval South African Dungeon's made a name for themselves this year. Maverick's was the West Coast exception, and Puerto Escondido's death pits did ensure proper Mexican representation, but for the most part it's obvious that new frontiers in big-wave bravado continue to be broken.
But before we get to all that, the awards show. If you weren't there, or weren't one of the millions that watched the live broadcast on billabongxxl.com, besides finding out who the winners were, here are three things you didn't see:
1. Garret McNamara cutting the line to the bathroom with an oversized $15,000 check…still not an excuse—although it's understandable, that line was way too long to begin with.
2. Greg Long's acceptance speech. Good-natured Greg relished the moment, and relished, and relished and relished some more. But hey, cheating death has got to mean more than winning an Oscar, so give the man a break.
3. The 15-year-old groms in front of me who smuggled a flask full of Jack Daniels into the event. Drunken underage kids hitting on your date is always fun.
All joking aside, the event was all time. The crowd was stoked and cheered through every death-defying drop and monumental barrel that appeared on the big screen. Local Orange County heroes Greg and Rusty Long were clearly the crowd favorites. Greg's award-winning 65-foot bomb at Dungeons had every prideful Southern Californian screaming in approval and Ken Collins' Puerto barrel is the stuff of legends. Even the overseas entries were treated to a healthy dose of California love. With all of the jaw dropping entries submitted this year, one can only wonder what next year will have in store.
…And the Winners Are:
GO TO NEXT PAGE FOR WINNERS AND ANALYSIS