Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mavericks Success in XXL Awards

Mavericks surfers are glowing with success after the 2009 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards in Los Angeles.

Greg Long out-surfed his fellow riders to win the coveted Ride of the Year award and $50,000, though for a ride in Cape Town, not at Mavericks.

The ninth annual awards, called the Oscars of surfing, drew over 2,000 top surfers and members of the industry and were presented on Friday in the Grove Theater in Anaheim by Mavericks pioneer and Contest Director, Jeff Clark.

'I am glad to have won this as a paddle in wave and without a PWC, - Jet Ski - because most recognized big wave surfers will tell you this is the most difficult of the two,' said Greg, aged 26 and the 2008 Mavericks Champion from San Clemente, south of Los Angeles.

'To catch a wave on your own power is an unbelievable feeling,' he is quoted as saying in Surfersvillage Global Surf News

Greg's achievement came in the Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest last July at Dungeons, off Cape Town. It came with the distinction of being the only entry in the Ride of the Year Category that was a paddle in, all the other rides being with the help of a Jet Ski.

'Paddling into a monster Dungeons peak and banking off the bottom into a huge tube ride, Long walked a fine line between glory and the punishing of a lifetime, before being spat out into the channel,' said Surfersvillage in their report.

The award is another notch for Greg in a line of successes in the Billabong awards.
Under his board are also the Biggest Wave Award for the 2006/2007 season, the Monster Paddle Award '07/'08, and two Best Over All Performance Awards for '07/'08 and '03/'04.

'I am feeling great, it’s my fifth time and now it’s the big one,' said Long. 'That is what is so amazing about this event, it brings everyone together at the end of the year.

'When we are out there riding waves, this is the last thing on our mind, we are out there because we love it.'

Greg had also been short-listed, along with
San Franciscan surfer and filmmaker, Grant Washburn, and others, for the Verizon Wipeout Award, but this went deservedly to Australian surfer Ross Clarke-Jones for a 'near life-ending battering' off the Tasmanian coast. For the first time, this aspect of the awards were voted on by the public.

But Mavericks did feature in the honours for Monster Paddle Award - surfing without a tow-in from a Jet Ski - when Derek Dunfee of San Diego came out top. Derek, of San Diego, 'used perfect positioning to complete a classic big wave ride' at Mavericks on November 30, '08, one of two days at Thanksgiving weekend that were arguably the best ever at Half Moon Bay.

Derek beat Grant 'Twiggy' Baker, from South Africa, who with Rusty Long, has just surfed a record 100ft wave hundreds of miles off Chile, and Californian Nathan Fletcher, competiton entries that were also from those two epic days at Mavericks.

'That day was the best day of my life and I wasn’t sure if I was getting nominated,' said Derek.

'I am 26 and I feel pretty honored to win and be up here with guys I have been looking up to all my life. I want to continue to work my way up and this could be a true turning point to the next stage of my big wave surfing career.'

Twiggy, however, triumphed
in both the XXL Biggest Wave Award, and the Surfline Men's Best Overall Performance when he beat fellow-nominee Greg Long. For the Overall Performance, the judges, who are a global panel composed of 250 surf industry, former pros and big wave specialists, gave him top marks for surfing skills exhibited in his win in the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event, a tow-in wave at nearby Tafelberg Reef, and feats at Mavericks and in Mexico.

His prizes were $20,000 and a new Honda Aquatrax PWC.

'When you look at my eyes right now, you can see that I am pretty pumped. Yeah, it is an amazing feeling, not just to myself but also to my family back home in South Africa,' he said.

'It is an honor to win Best Overall Performance and to be the first South African to do it,' he said.

He surfed the Biggest Wave at Tafelberg Reef, a wave claimed to be the biggest ever tackled in his home country of South Africa.

Surfersvillage commented, 'The victories came as a long overdue reward for (the) diminutive natural footer, who has been consistently nominated since the XXL awards’ inception but never taken out a win.'

For full reports and pics of the Billabong awards: and

Pics: Greg Long receiving his award; Derek Dunfee at Mavericks; Twiggy Baker receiving his award; Greg Long, Jeff Clark, Jamie Sterling and Frank Quirarte, photo by Seth Migdail

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