Monday, April 6, 2009

Mavericks Surfers & Photographers in XXL Awards

Nominations for this year's Oscars of the surfing world have been released with a clutch of Mavericks

surfers and photographers riding high among them.

Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark - pic lower left - will also be a presenter at the 2009 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards to be held at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on Friday, April 17.

Nominations, selected from over 550 images, are for the Billabong XXL’s 'most revered categories, including the $50,000 Ride of the Year, XXL Biggest Wave, Monster Paddle and Monster Tube,' says the Billabong press release.

'In all, over $130,000 in prize money will be awarded when the winners are revealed at the XXL-night festivities, a festive red carpet evening which has grown to be known as the Oscars of surfing.'

The Thanksgiving weekend produced swells of 30 ft to 45 ft at Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, in what has been described on the website as 'two of the most perfect days ever seen' there.

The result was that the Monster Paddle division of the competition was inundated with spectacular rides that not only contributed to a record number of entries overall but 'raised the bar ever higher' in the class, ie surfing without a tow-in from a jet ski.

Of the finalists, says the press release, 'three rides come from what may be the best day ever at Maverick’s' with Grant 'Twiggy' Baker of Durban, South Africa, and Californians Nathan Fletcher and Derek Dunfee.

Together with Rusty Long - pic of them both at Mavericks above - Twiggy is just surfacing from an April 1 roller coaster of an event, headlining around the world for an apparent breaking of the 100ft surfing barrier off the coast of Chile!!! A video,
'A day with Twiggy' featured on Fuel TV's 'The Daily Habit' by Powerlines Productions, that filmed him at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, has just been posted on the website

For the first time ever, competition organizers have thrown open the fun Verizon Wireless Wipeout Award to a public vote. Surfing fans are invited via the Billabong website to text for one of five contenders.

From California these include Greg Long and his 'eardrum-bursting depth charge at Maverick’s,' - pic top right - from which he was rescued by Jeff Clark on a jet ski, and the San Francisco surfer and filmmaker, Grant Washburn, and his 'cockroach-influenced backslide down the face at Maverick’s...'

The top prize of $50,000 for the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Award will go to the
'surfer with the single most amazing performance on a big wave captured on video'.

Among the five winning nominations for this are Greg Long 'for one of the biggest paddle-in barrels ever seen during the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event at Dungeons,' and California’s Brian Conley with what Billabong say is 'a new twist', nominated 'both for escaping a deep tube in Mexico, and for filming it as well, using a hand-held Point-Of-View camera throughout the ride.'

Nominees for the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award include Grant “Twiggy” Baker 'whose highlights include winning the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event at Cape Town’s Dungeons, riding a huge tow-in wave at nearby Tafelberg Reef and a dominating session on an epic day at Maverick’s near San Francisco,' and Greg Long 'for a year which included a perfect 10 point barrel ride at Dungeons, an eardrum-bursting bomb at Maverick’s, gaping storm tubes in Ireland and runs to Chile and the Pacific Northwest...'

Among the girls there are three finalists for the top $5,000 prize for the Billabong Girls Performance Award. One is 'perennial finalist Jamilah Star for some intimidating drops at the legendary Maverick’s break...'

This will be the ninth annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy. Scores of big wave surfing’s elite will be gathered that night along with some 2,250 surf industry VIPs, says the Billabong press release.

pics above taken from the Billabong and Mavericks websites

For all details about the competition and a feast of big wave pics and videos see the website at

The entire show will be carried on a live webcast at and will be the subject of a one-hour TV special on ESPN2 on the evening of May 29, 2009.

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