The SURFER Poll Video Awards

The other half of the biggest night in surf are the SURFER Poll Video Awards—the surf world’s equivalent of the Academy Awards. Here’s a quick recap of the 2010 winners.

(Click names for more info)
Taylor SteeleCraig AndersonKai Neville Jamie O’Brien Derek Dunfee
Michael OblowitzJordy SmithAndy Irons Mauli Ola FoundationAnthony Walsh

Breakthrough Performer Presented By New Era:
Winner: Craig Anderson

You can teach someone to pig-dog a barrel, you can fake enthusiasm, you can sack up and drop in on a bomb, but you’re either born with style or you aren’t. And Craig Anderson was. He faced stiff competition in the form of Owen Wright, Chippa Wilson, and Jadson Andre, but Anderson’s appearances in Modern Collective and Castles in the Sky, his fantastic Intersection part, and his cover blitzkrieg in recent months have proven to us that he’s someone we’ll be hearing from in future years.

Best Performance Presented By Skullcandy:
Winner: Jamie O’Brien- Who is J.O.B

Jamie O’Brien’s four-year odyssey to complete his signature film, Who is J.O.B., produced one of the most incredible, heavy, technical video parts ever. While Julian Wilson (Scratching the Surface), Jordy Smith (Modern Collective), Dane Reynolds (Seen and Unseen), and Andy Irons (High-5) all had incredible moments in their respective films, Jamie’s hour-long performance is undeniable.

Heavy Water:
Winner: Jamie O’Brien- Who is J.O.B.

While Derek Dunfee (Down with the Ship), Fergal Smith (High-5), and Brian Conley (My Eyes Won’t Dry III) all put in serious performances in big surf, there was little doubt that Jamie O’Brien’s charging in Who is J.O.B. was a class above. Though he seldom surfs outside the tropics, his risk-taking in some of the most serious conditions the Pacific can dish out was nothing short of awe-inspiring, and his performances at Pipeline and Backdoor may just be the best surfing ever done there.

Best Cinematography:
Winner: Castles In The Sky- Taylor Steele

In recent years, Taylor Steele has turned away from high-class surf porn and embraced the visual brilliance of exotic surf travel. His last two films, (Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky) are homages to incredible sunsets, local color, the vivid blues of the world’s oceans, and all that stimulates the eyes when you leave your routine behind and travel for waves. Castles in the Sky took on stiff competition in the forms of Scratching the Surface, 180 South, Who Is J.O.B., and Idiosyncrasies, but ultimately it’s Steele’s decades on the road and his commitment to beautiful shots that made his latest film a visual feast.

Worst Wipeout:
Winner: Derek Dunfee- Down With The Ship

San Diego’s Derek Dunfee has been chasing ridiculously large waves his whole adult life, and when one embarks on such a career he’s likely to have some horrific moments. His rag-doll roll down the face of a Maverick’s monster in his 2010 film Down with the Ship is truly a goose bump-inspiring moment.

Best Maneuver:
Winner: Jordy Smith- Modern Collective

With films like Who is J.O.B., Scratching the Surface, and Modern Collective in the running, this year the Best Maneuver category took weeks to decide on, and all the eventual nominees (Jamie O’Brien, Flynn Novak, Julian Wilson, Mitch Coleborn, Dion Agius, and Jordy Smith) could have been winners most years. But Jordy Smith’s massive air-reverse was the result of the application of power surfing to the aerial realm, and he bested the others in the category.

Digital Short Of The Year:
Winner: Dark Side Of The Lens- Mickey Smith & Allan Wilson

The newest category at SURFER Poll was implemented to celebrate the awesome short films surfers are producing and distributing online. Nominees included Quiksilver’s experiment in super slow-mo (Cypher Vision), two installments from the Innersection.tv dynasty (Ozzie Wright and Peter Devries), and Karim Rejeb’s stop-motion surf classic (Lino), but Allan Wilson and Mickey Smith’s poem to the passion of surf photographers is a seven-minute classic.

Best Barrel:
Winner: Andy Irons- High 5

While Irons and O’Brien both had ridiculously long barrels from Desert Point sessions in their respective 2010 video parts (Who is J.O.B. and High-5), it was Irons’ Central American drainer that seems virtually unmakeable that clinched the prestigious Best Barrel award.

Best Documentary:
Winner: Sea Of Darkness- Michael Oblowitz

A wide array of documentary subjects in 2010 made the category a lively one, but it was Michael Oblowitz’s dark story about the early pioneers of G-Land and drug smuggling that ultimately broke them that stood out in a tough field.

Movie Of The Year:
Winner: Modern Collective- Kai Neville

Once every other decade a film comes out that defines a generation of surfers. Taylor Steele’s Momentum announced the arrival of Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Rob Machado and others, and this year Kai Neville’s Modern Collective did the same for Jordy Smith, Dusty Payne, Craig Anderson, Mitch Coleborn, Dane Reynolds, and others. But it wasn’t just the aerial display that makes it one we’ll be referencing years from now. Neville captured the voice, the texture, and the vibe of surfing’s current crop of superstars. Sparse but intricate, Modern Collective was the unanimous choice for Movie of the Year by the SURFER Poll Academy.

Agent Of Change:
Winner: Mauli Ola Foundation

The Agent of Change Award was created to acknowledge the good work of surfers who see a problem and, instead of hoping that someone else will do something about it, they roll up their sleeves and make a difference. This year we honored the Mauli Ola Foundation, a group that takes those suffering from cystic fibrosis surfing. While the patients have fun, the salt water acts as a natural decongestant, breaking up the sticky mucus that forms in their lungs. We were honored to have them as guests and present them with $20,000 to help bolster their efforts.