His December 21 Todos monster racks up $68,000; Diego Medina from Chile winsthe biggest paddle in

Former world runner-up Brad Gerlach enjoyed a new pinnacle in his careerFriday night as he was announced winner of the 2006 Billabong XXL BiggestWave award. The Todos wave, ridden during one of the largest swells to hitthe West Coast in decades, measured up at 68 feet — two feet bigger thanhis partner, Mike Parsons’ 2001 wave at Cortes Bank. He edged out TylerFox’s {{{Ghost}}} Trees bomb, which came in at 63 feet. While Gerr knew hislate-afternoon drop was large, he admitted he wasn’t thinking “XXL” when hekicked out. “It wasn’t until Greg and Rusty Long paddled up and said it wasthe biggest wave they’d ever seen out there,” says Gerlach. “I was, like,woah. Really?”

Strangely enough, SURFING Magazine predicted the winner and the wave heightto the exact foot on its May 2006 cover.

Other big prizes included Diego Medina’s paddle-in behemoth in Chile, whichoutsized giant days at Waimea, Todos and Maverick’s. The name on the $10,000check is further evidence that the XXL is truly a global big-wave event.

Shane Dorian, not surprisingly, won ${{{5000}}} and the Monster Tube Award for hissurreal cave at Teahupoo, while Hawaii’s Jamie {{{Sterling}}}, who bounced backand forth from the West Coast and Hawaii and paddled and towed with equalcommitment, collected 5 large for the Surfline Best Overall PerformanceAward. Santa Cruz gnarly girl Jamiliah Star won the Women’s Best OverallPerformance.

Stay tuned for full details and photos from the Billabong XXL Awards night,coming soon.