After nearly three months of non-stop winter swell, you’re probably wondering: who’s the king of the mountain? Well, wonder no longer as the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards now has photos and video highlights available on its website.
The competition awards a prize of at least $60,000 to the surfer who rides the biggest wave of the year, based on the photographic evidence. The contest runs through March, after which a panel of experts will analyze the images, with the winner presented at the gala XXL Big Wave Awards in Los Angeles in April.
This year’s XXL Big Wave Awards will also feature the first enshrinements in the Big Wave Hall of Fame, a tribute to the sport’s pioneering watermen.
Currently, Nov. 26 at Jaws produced the most entries, with Cheyne Horan, Makua Rothman and Laird Hamilton whipping into the meatiest contenders. But a mid-December run at Todos Santos, an early January super-session at Maverick’s and even an offshore sandbar in Biarritz, France also measured up to the challenge.
“‘It’s amazing how many waves have been ridden this winter which are well over 50 feet on the face,”‘ said Billabong XXL contest director Bill Sharp. “‘It used to be rare; this season it’s been almost routine. Determining the biggest may be a real challenge because there is no clear leader — there are at least a dozen waves clearly in the 60- to 75-foot range.”‘
And the exact height matters. The $60,000 Billabong XXL prize will be upgraded by $1000 for each foot of face height over 60 feet.