(ANAHEIM, CA) “I thought my wave was the biggest. I don’t give a shit.”Size may not matter for 18-year-old Makua Rothman, but it does for the rest of the surf world. And more than five months after the young Hawaiian stumbled into the wave of the day on Nov. 26 at Jaws, riding a bumpy, moving mountain now estimated at 66 feet, he was finally awarded for his efforts last night at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards ceremony at the Grove Theater in Anaheim. “Ho, I didn’t have a speech prepared because I didn’t know if I’d win,” added Makua. “But I want to thank Billabong for supporting big-wave surfing and helping to grow the sport. Maybe someday it’ll be bigger than golf.”One thing’s for certain: Makua’s feat was bigger than anything else that went down this year. In an extremely tight field that included two other waves from Jaws (Noah Johnson and Cheyne Horan) and the mysto reef from France (Belharra with Fred Basse and Sebastian St. Jean), Rothman came down to a virtual dead heat with Frenchman St. Jean for the year’s biggest wave. But according to the rules, the surfer’s ride is measured from his point of entry, and since St. Jean took off closer to the shoulder, his ride didn’t measure as big as it could have. Rothman, on the other hand, came back from way deep, backdooring two, life-threatening sections. He and his partner, Ryan Rawson, won $60,000 for the grand prize, plus an extra $1000 per foot over 60. When asked if Rothman would split the prize down the middle with his partner, he answered, “Pretty much.”Now in its third year, the XXL awards continue to captivate the surf world and the mainstream public. Everyone can relate to cartoonish slabs of water, and this year proved to be the tightest race ever. In particular, the last-minute entries from France made for a truly global big-wave event. “We’re honored to be a part of this,” said finalist Fred Basse. “Surfing is a global community; big-wave riders are a global community. And I’m confident this is only the beginning.”St. Jean added: “As to Belharra, there is no limit to this reef.”

Other awards recipients included the biggest paddle-in wave, which went to Toby Cunningham for his heroic drop at Todos Santos. Cunningham received $5,000 for his efforts. The $5,000 Jay Moriarity Overall Performance Award went to Garrett McNamara, the man who quite possibly rode the biggest tube of all time at Jaws.Stay tuned to www.surfingthemag.com for the full story — coming soon.[For more info and to see the other finalists’ waves. go to www.billabongxxl.com.]