It's become sort of a tradition for us mag dudes. Come mid-April, as the anticipation for the Billabong XXL awards nears a crescendo, we head up to Billabong headquarters, set aside all bitter rivalries for an hour or two, put down a few Coronas and measure up the top contenders. And all fuzzy math, 2-dollar protractors and junk science aside, we left the building last night feeling pretty damn sure we picked the right guys.

Just ask Peter Mel, who was a special guest star on a judging panel that included measurement veterans Flippy Hoffman, Surfer's Chris Mauro, Surfline's Dave Gilovich, Mike Parsons and SURFING's Steve Sherman and Evan Slater. At first, when Mauro became our Dave Wassel and "assumed the position," Mel was a bit blown away at the crudeness, joking, "So that's why I've never won all these years."

But when he saw that there was a method to our madness, he got even more into it than the rest of us, even serving as Garrett McNamara's double for his wave and demanding video replays for the close calls. Keep in mind that the rules are different this year. We only picked the $15,000 "Biggest Wave" and $15,000 "Monster Paddle" awards last night. The granddaddy prize, the $50,000 "Ride of the Year," "Monster Tube," and "Performances of the Year" were all decided by a quorum of {{{100}}} experts. The results of those awards remain a mystery – even to us. As XXL Executive Director Bill Sharp says, "There's been evidence of leaks in years past, so no one will know the results but me."

As for our votes? Will it be Alistair's {{{Ghost}}} Tree, a West Oz Bombie or Greg Long's Dungeon? Which Maverick's bomb had us running for cover the most? Sorry, but we're going to prove there's no leaks coming from this camp. But come Friday, if there's an outrage over our decision, we all agreed on the proper damage control: "Hey, it was all Peter's fault. Talk to him."

That should silence 'em for another year.

[Be sure to check back to” or for the full results.] WATCH THE LIVE WEBCAST TONIGHT AT