Billabong XXL Wipeout Awards

With the 2009 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards just 16 days away, organizers have announced additional nominees in the remaining categories, including the Verizon Wireless Wipeout Award, the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award and the Billabong Girls Performance Award.

For the first time in the nine-year history of the Billabong XXL Awards, the public at large will be able to vote and decide the winner of an event division, the Verizon Wireless Wipeout Award. Viewers are invited to review the five dramatically unsuccessful rides and then TEXT in their vote for the one they deem the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint).  The text-in program works on all wireless service providers in the USA, and standard text messaging rates apply.

The nominees for the Verizon Wireless Wipeout Award include: Australia's Dean Bowen for a head-over heels step-jump at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania; Ross Clarke-Jones' mission to oblivion at Pedra Branca, Tasmania: Greg Long's eardrum-bursting depth charge at Maverick's; Ramon Navarro's twisting somersault into the barrel at Santos del Mar, Chile; and Grant Washburn's cockroach-influenced backslide down the face at Maverick's, Northern California.  The "winner" of Best Wipeout honors will receive a Water Resistant G'zOne Casio Boulder Phone with one year of free service from Verizon Wireless.

The Wipeout Award will be a lighthearted moment during the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presentation gala on the evening of Friday, April 17 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.  The invitation-only affair will be attended by scores of big wave surfing's elite along with some 2,250 surf industry VIPs.  The entire show will be carried on a live webcast at BillabongXXL.com and will be the subject of a one-hour TV special on ESPN2 on the evening of May 29, 2009.

Announced last week were the nominees in the Billabong XXL's most revered categories, including the $50,000 Ride of the Year, XXL Biggest Wave, Monster Paddle and Monster Tube.  Video and still photos of the finalists in those divisions can be viewed by clicking on the BillabongXXL.com website. 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.

While the wipeout voting is a public affair, the objective XXL and Monster Paddle wave-height awards are determined through careful measurements of the photographic evidence by a panel of top surfers, photographers and surf magazine editors.  The subjective awards, including the Ride of the Year, Monster Tube and Performance divisions are decided by the votes of the "surfing academy," made up of all the top surfers and photographers who annually participate in the XXL, along with respected surf journalists worldwide.

The final categories announced today are the performance awards, meant to acknowledge the male and female surfers who "put in the greatest number of outstanding performances at the most diverse number of venues over the course of the entire year."

The Nominees for the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award include (in alphabetic order) are: Grant "Twiggy" Baker of Durban, South Africa, 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; Greg Long of San Clemente, California, 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; and Mark Mathews of Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia, who seemed to be on top of every big wave session Down Under demonstrating versatility at every corner of the continent, from outer "Bombora" peaks to heaving "slab" barrels -- and everything in between.  The winner of the Surfline Best Performance Award will receive a check for $5,000.

On the feminine front, another three surfers have been nominated for their excellence.  The finalists for Billabong Girls Performance Award are: Maya Gabeira of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, for a whirlwind year of solid waves at Hawaiian outer reefs off Oahu and Maui and a far chillier adventure to Alaska; newcomer Mercedes Maidana of Argentina for an array of paddle-in bombs at Waimea Bay, Hawaii; and perennial finalist Jamilah Star for some intimidating drops at the legendary Maverick's break off Half Moon Bay, California.  The Billabong Girls Performance Award likewise carries a $5,000 top prize.

The 2009 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy.  Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Honda is the official watercraft of the event.  Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine, Air Tahiti Nui and High Surf Accessories.

The Wipeout and Performance nominees for 2009, in alphabetical order:

FIVE VERIZON WIRELESS WIPEOUT AWARD NOMINEES
  (Surfer prize is a G'zOne Casio Boulder Phone with one year of free service --  a $2,000 value)
Dean Bowen (Gerroa, New South Wales, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania (To vote for Dean, text "Vote1" to "72556")
Ross Clarke-Jones (Torquay, Victoria, Australia) at Pedra Branca, Tasmania (To vote for Ross, text "Vote2" to "72556")
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Maverick's, California (To vote for Greg, text "Vote3" to "72556")
Ramon Navarro (Pichelemu, Chile) at Santos del Mar, Chile (To vote for Ramon, text "Vote4" to "72556")
Grant Washburn (San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick's, California (To vote for Grant, text "Vote5" to "72556")
     (Standard text messaging rates apply)

THREE SURFLINE BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
     (Surfer prize $5,000)
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa)
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA)
Mark Mathews (Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia)

THREE BILLABONG GIRLS PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
     (Surfer prize $5,000)
Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Mercedes Maidana (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Jamilah Star (Santa Cruz, California, USA)


Source: Billabong XXL Awards