The Billabong XXL Awards just keep getting bigger. Not just in wave height or number of massive-wave entries from around the globe, but in the sheer amount of people who come to celebrate our sport's Masai warriors. Thousands were on hand last night at Anaheim's Grove to honor the men who rode mountains this past winter. And from both the tow and paddle-in camps, there were plenty of monumental rides to choose from.

In the end, though, each category had to have a sole winner. And after a three-hour deliberation on Thursday night, the XXL grand jury (which included SURFING's Evan Slater and Steve Sherman, Surfer's Chris Mauro, Surfline's Sean Collins, big-wave hero Mike Parsons, legend Flippy Hoffman and TWSurf's Pete Taras) came to a decision. That decision remained tightly sealed until last night, when Sal Masekela Mced the slick production.

First up: the Monster Tube Award. It was a tough call between Raimana {{{Van}}} Bastolaer's spit-breathing Teahupo'o dragon and Aussie Dylan Longbottom's seven-stepped growler at Shipstern's Bluff. The theory? Shipsterns was just too nasty-looking to ignore. Longbottom was in Tahiti, but Sal got him on the phone and assured him we'd be on "the piss" for him.

Next: the Monster Paddle-In Award. Thanks to traditional big-wave contests like the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau and the Maverick's Surf Contest, surfers young and old took major strides when it came to clawing over the ledge. Shane Dorian's drop in the Eddie was as technically perfect as it gets, and West Coast chargers like Anthony Tashnick, Tyler Smith and Greg Long are making sure paddle-in big-wave surfing will never be a lost art. The winner, though, was pretty clear-cut. Santa Cruz Shane Desmond, arguably the best goofyfoot at Maverick's these days, caught a legitimate 25-footer on his four-fin gun during his semi at the Maverick's Surf Contest. Not only did it score a perfect 10, but the wave, measuring at 49 feet, fetched him 10 grand last night in the process. As it stands, it could be the biggest backside wave ridden in a contest. Ever.

Surfline's Overall Performance award in memory of Jay Moriarity was also clear-cut. It went to the guy who towed into one of the two biggest waves of the winter and also finished third at the Eddie. A guy who'll huck himself over the ledge at Teahupo'o and come up laughing. A guy who has years and years of big-wave feats in his future: Shane Dorian. "I forgot how nervous you get at these things," said Shane, who looked much more comfortable when 65 feet of whitewater exploded on his back. Dorian received 5 grand for his efforts and a mint's worth of respect.

Flea took heaviest wipeout honors, thanked the fans and made a few Westside call-outs. And in a new category, energized Santa Cruz girl Jamiliah Starr took top honors for best overall performance by a woman. Charging the stage as hard as she charges Waimea, Jamiliah and her posse (which included "Danger Woman" Kim Hamrock) broke into a girl-power freestyle-rap laced with a human beat box. Really.

But the granddaddy prize ultimately went to a guy who could be someone's granddaddy: 48-year-old Dan Moore. Moore's perhaps better known for towing Ken Bradshaw into the wave of his life at Outer Log Cabins in 1998, but he's also slung into a handful of massive ones himself. And this year at Peahi (Jaws), during the mid-December Eddie Aikau swell, he found himself on a wave bigger than he ever could have imagined. "My driver, Mark Anderson, is real aggressive," he said of the fake-looking right. "And he jockeyed a couple of guys off that one so I could go. But he had to take me deep. I tried to high-line it, but couldn't get around the section." "Failing to make it around the section" has serious consequences at Jaws, and in this case, the wave broke his ankle. But standing there on stage with his group of supporters raising their arms in triumph, there's no question if the pain was worth it. 68 feet, $68,000 dollars richer, and a whole lot of stoked big-wave riders planning their attack for next winter.

Who says surfing's biggest risk-takers don't get rewarded?