VIDEO: 2006 Billabong XXL Nominees

The finalists for the 2006 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy were announced, underlining the increasingly international face of big wave surfing. Nominees waves were challenged in locations as diverse as Spain, Mexico, California, Chile, Hawaii, Tahiti and Tasmania.

The winner will be announced at the sixth-annual invitation-only show before 1800 surf world VIPs on April 14 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. The night’s full schedule of activities will be carried on a free live webcast — in the meantime new photos and video of every amazing ride is now available for examination at the updated event site at

Three nominees in the XXL category are familiar names to big wave fans — these surfers include Ross Clarke-Jones and Brad Gerlach, who snared their spectacular rides at Todos Santos Island off Ensenada, Mexico, along with Flea Virostko who powered into contention at his own stalwart break of Maverick’s, south of San Francisco, California. More recent XXL invitees making the big step up to finalist status this year are Tyler {{{Fox}}} of Aptos, California, for his behemoth at {{{Ghost}}} Tree (off the famed Pebble Beach {{{Golf}}} Links) and Spain’s most respected big wave surfer, Ibon Amatriain, who pioneered the outer reef off Playa Gris along the Basque coast.

A panel of experts including respected big wave riders and surf magazine editors will analyze the many photos and video clips of the nominees and determine the largest face size of the year — which will earn a prize of $1000 a foot with a minimum payout of $60,000. Last year Hawaii’s Dan Moore earned $68,000 for his 68-foot wave off Maui. For the first time, Billabong introduced a new format to establish potential nominees from this break Peahi (or Jaws). Out of respect to the local surf community, a one day Expression Session consisting of only the top tow teams was scheduled but ironically, the break which produced the last three XXL winners failed to generate any waves in the past 12 months to approach its previous levels of swell height and surface conditions.

Also announced today were the nominees for the Monster Paddle Award for the largest wave of the year caught using arm-power alone. The field of paddle-in entries was undoubtedly the most competitive in the history of the category. “There has been such a push among the surfers to excel in the traditional paddle-in arena, there were probably a dozen waves which were in the same realm of height and pure big wave skill,” said Event Director Bill Sharp. “Narrowing it down to the five nominees was one of the toughest challenges in the history of the competition. Fortunately there were multiple photo angles of all the rides on stills and video and after excruciatingly detailed analysis, we’re confident of the top five. But now the debate on which is biggest of the five will surely heat up.”

Five nominees for the Monster Tube Award were also released today honoring great rides deep in the barrel. Two come from the Tahitian black hole known at Teahupoo, with Shane Dorian and Raimana {{{Van}}} Bastolaer towing in deep and surviving thick lips and flying jet skis. Other leading candidates include legend Peter Mel’s backdoor at Maverick’s, and two remarkable waves which were paddled into the highly-respected, old-fashioned way. Those rare feats were achieved by Florida’s ASP Tour vet {{{CJ}}} Hobgood at Teahupoo and young Australian upstart Laurie Towner at Shipstern Bluff on Tasmania’s remote southern tip.

"It is gratifying to see every year the overwhelming positive response to this event from the big wave community," stated Billabong's VP Marketing, Graham Stapelberg. "The year-round event has become truly international with nominees from all over the globe."

The event website at features a preview of each of the finalist rides including multiple angles of each captured by many of the world’s best surfing photographers. The lensmen are also up for prizes up to ${{{5000}}} honoring their ability to nail the definitive moment.

The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy. Surfline is the official surf forecast. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine, {{{Honda}}} Watercraft, {{{Jeep}}}, Hawaiian Airlines and High Surf Accessories.

The nominees for 2006 are, in alphabetical order:


Surfer prize $1000 per foot ($60,000 minimum), photo prize $5000
Ibon Amatriain (Zarautz, Spain) at Playa Gris, Spain on February 17, 2006 (photo by Ramon “Lance” Blanco Gonzales)
Ross Clarke-Jones (Victoria, Australia) at Todos Santos Island, Mexico on December 21, 2005 (photo by Robert
Tyler Fox (Aptos, California) at Ghost Tree, Pebble Beach, California on January 4, 2006 (photos by Randy Brown, Bart Keagy, Aaron Kirks & Graham Nash)
Brad Gerlach (Encinitas, California) at Todos Santos Island, Mexico on December 21, 2005 (photo by Robert
Flea Virostko (Santa Cruz, California) at Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, CA on January 4, 2006 (photos by Frank Quirarte and Don Montgomery)


Surfer prize $10,000, photo prize $2000Grant Baker (South Africa) at Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay, California on February 7, 2006 (photos by Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte/, Don Montgomery/
Garth Engelhorn (San Diego, California) at Todos Santos Island on December 21, 2005 (photo by Todd Pilmer)
Rusty Long (San Clemente, California) at Todos Santos Island on December 21, 2005 (photos by,
Diego Medina (Bellavista, Chile) at Punta Lobos, Chile on May 11, 2005 (photo by Philip Muller)
Jamie {{{Sterling}}} (Haleiwa, Hawaii) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on February 5, 2006 (photos by Dave Collyer/, Bruno Lemos)


Surfer prize $5000, photo prize $2000Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on September 11, 2005 (photos by, Scott Carter, Keith Kipp,
CJ Hobgood (Melbourne, Florida) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on May 2, 2005 (photo by Karen /
Peter Mel (Santa Cruz, California) at Maverick’s, California on January 4, 2006 (photos by Frank Quirarte/
Laurie Towner (Angourie, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on March 11, 2006 (photos by Andy Chisholm, Stuart Gibson, Tim Jones)
Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on May 1, 2005 (photo by Brian Bielmann)