THE FINALISTS

posted by / News / March 28, 2007

While we’re still a couple weeks off from the actual voting process, Billabong announced yesterday the finalists for this year’s new-and-improved XXL awards. As we mentioned earlier, the XXL grand prize isn’t just about the biggest wave anymore; it’s how you ride it. And in the first year of this major criteria shift, there are plenty of contenders deserving of the 50 Gs. Who’s going to walk home with the big check on April 14? Check the videos and photos and see if you agree with our takes….

enter to win
FIVE BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
(Surfer prize $50,000

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Video prize ${{{5000}}})

ken skindog collins Ken "Skindog" Collins

(Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on June 17, 2006 (Video by Josh Pomer)

OUR TAKE: Skindog does what big-wave Puerto dudes have done in their minds for years. Despite the straps and whip in, degree of difficulty is high. We’re putting this one in the top three.

manoa-drolet Manoa Drollet (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 28, 2006 (Video by Kendall O’Brian)

OUR TAKE: It’s big. It’s ballsy. It took skills. But after Dorian’s tube at Teahupo’o in 2005, it’s hard to stand apart at the world’s ledgiest left. We don’t see this one going all the way.

rusty-long Rusty Long

(San Clemente, California, USA) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on June 2, 2006
(Video by Andrew Kopjak)

OUR TAKE: You know how partial we are to paddle-ins. And this made-it-by-a-hair drainer of Rusty Long is about as good as it gets for 12-foot shacks. Degree of difficulty? Off the charts. We’re hoping this one takes it.

andrew-marr Andrew Marr

(Cape Town, South Africa) at Dungeons, South Africa on July 30. 2006
(Video by Grant Washburn)

OUR TAKE: Any way you cut it, Dungeons is a scary-looking beast. Every wave looks medieval, and South African crazies are fit for knighthood. This wave – along with Greg Long’s “biggest wave” – were the highlights from what we think are the largest waves ever ridden in the Southern Hemisphere. If we have to “Go Tow” for the ride of the year, this one is it.

doug young Doug Young

(Dunedin, New Zealand) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on October 13, 2006
(Video by Christopher Kirkham)

OUR TAKE: Crazy recovery, but a fortunate correction on a high line can’t be ride of the year. Sorry.

FIVE BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES
(Surfer prize $15,000

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Photo/video prize: ${{{4000}}})

greg long

OUR OVERALL TAKE: It has to be Greg Long. The wave is a cartoon, and it’s at a spot that’s been dying to prove itself. A perfect example of weeks-long dedication coming to a climactic end. And it’ll be the first winner from the Southern Hemisphere. (Come to think of it, aside from Craft, they’re all from the Southern Hemi. The surf world is upside down!)

Alfy Cater

(Yallingup, Western Australia) at Outer Bombora, Western Australia on July 5, 2006 (Photos by Russell Ord, Jamie Scott

Video by Rick Rifici)

Alistair Craft

(Santa Cruz, California, USA) at {{{Ghost}}} Tree, Pebble Beach, California on December 11, 2006 (Photos by Robert Brown, Bart Keagy, Michael Weber)

Damon Eastaugh

(Yallingup, Western Australia) at Outer Bombora, Western Australia on July 5, 2006 (Photos by Russell Ord, Jamie Scott

Video by Rick Rifici)

Greg Long

(San Clemente, California, USA) at Dungeons, South Africa on July 30. 2006 (Photos by Al McKinnon, Shaun Timoney)

Andrew Marr

(Cape Town, South Africa) at Dungeons, South Africa on July 30. 2006(Photos by Al McKinnon, Shaun Timoney •

Video by Grant Washburn)

FIVE MONSTER PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES
(Surfer prize $15,000

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Photo/video prize: $4000)

dave wassel OUR OVERALL TAKE: Some noble efforts in here, but it has to come down to a man on man between the Hawaiians Dave Wassel and Garrett McNamara. Both jumped the pond to Maverick’s this year, and both caught some bombs. But will it be Garrett’s admitted daredevil closeout on VC’s 10’10”? Or Wassel, first wave ever at the spot, a second reefer where few have taken off before? We give the edge to Wassel, but we’re still left wondering: what happened to Garrett’s Outer Logs wave?
Ben Andrews

(San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay, California on December 11, 2006 (Photos by Don Montgomery, Frank Quirarte

Video by Larry Haynes) Garrett McNamara

(Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay, California on December 14, 2006 (Video by Ryan Casey) Axier Muniain

(Zarautz, Spain) at Playa Gris, Spain on November 29, 2006 (Photos by Pablo Azkue

Video by Manex Artola) Gabriel Villaran

(Lima, Peru) at El Buey, Arica, Chile on June 20, 2006 (Photos by Kai Benson) Dave Wassel

(Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay, California on December 15, 2006 (Photos by Fred Pompermeyer

Video by Larry Haynes)

FIVE MONSTER TUBE AWARD NOMINEES
(Surfer prize $5,000 -

Photo/video prize: $2000)

ken collins OUR OVERALL TAKE: None approach Dorian or last year’s Shipstern’s status, which is why we’re leaning toward Skinny’s cave for its originality, length and claim. We can only imagine what was going on inside of there.
Ken "Skindog" Collins

(Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on June 17, 2006

(Photos by Edwin Morales

Video by Josh Pomer) Shane Dorian

(Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 28, 2006 (Video by Kendall O’Brian) Manoa Drollet

(Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 28, 2006

(Photos by Tim McKenna

• Video by Kendall O’Brian) Martin Paradisis

(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on May 19, 2006

(Photos by Remi Chauvin, Stuart Gibson

Video by Tom Webster) Doug Young

(Dunedin, New Zealand) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on October 13, 2006

(Photos by Sean Collins

Video by Christopher Kirkham)

THREE SURFLINE MEN’S BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES (Surfer prize $5,000) Danilo Couto

(Bahia, Brazil) Greg Long

(San Clemente, California, USA) Garrett McNamara

(Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)

OUR OVERALL TAKE: Danilo caught one of the best waves of the year at Pipe, paddled in at Jaws and charged Maverick’s. Greg Long is always on it somewhere. And then there’s Garrett, paddling into foggy bombs at Mav’s, towing into everything with a high-surf warning on it and then, the capper, paddling into a legitimate 25-footer at Outer Logs on his 10’4” Rusty in March. It hasn’t been done in years and Garrett’s proving once again that he can do it all. We give the nod to GMac.

THREE BILLABONG WOMEN’S BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES (Surfer prize $5,000) Maya Gabeira

({{{Rio}}} de Janeiro, Brazil) Andrea Moller

(Maui, Hawaii, USA) Jamilah Star

(Santa Cruz, California, USA) OUR OVERALL TAKE: We saw Jamilah grab a few bombs in late February at Mav’s, but she always wins. Our new female big-wave hero: Maya Gabeira, the fiery 19-year-old from Rio was all over it this year. Dropping in behind tow guys at Todos. Charging Waimea whenever it broke and breaking the ice at Maverick’s on one of the biggest days of the year. We love Maya! Of course, none of these opinions are official. Wait to see what the judges think come April 14 or go to billabongxxl.com for further updates.

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