Keala Kennelly: girl power at Teahupoo | Photo: McKenna/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) has announced the nominees for the 2015/2016 Big Wave Awards. The winners of the four categories will be announced on April 23, at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.

Four surfers are in contention to claim "Ride of the Year Award," the most prestigious trophy of the big wave surfing season. Eighty percent of the rides come, once again, from American waters - an issue that is becoming too apparent to ignore.

Shane Dorian (with two waves), Nathan Florence, Tyler Larronde, and Albee Layer. Who will take home the $60,000 check? One thing's for certain. The prize money will go to Hawaii.

Ride of the Year Award | Nominees

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 6, 2015
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 10, 2016
Nathan Florence (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on May 28, 2015
Tyler Larronde (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2016
Albee Layer (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016

The 2015/2016 El Niño winter pushed the limits of what is humanly possible on a big mountain of water. But if you were waiting for a few surprises in the "Paddle Award," then this is not for you. Four of the five nominations come from US peaks. The winner takes $25,000.

Paddle Award | Nominees

Ben Andrews (San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2015
Pedro Calado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 15, 2016
Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 15, 2016
Mark Healey (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on May 3, 2015
Manny Resano (Playa Popoyo, Nicaragua) at Maverick’s, California on December 7, 2015

The competition might have been named Big Wave Awards, but the "Biggest Wave Award" will only deliver the third largest prize purse - $20,000. And, this time, Nazaré secures three nominations against two for Jaws.

Biggest Wave Award | Nominees

Mick Corbett (Perth, WA, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal on February 19, 2016
Garrett McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 1, 2015
Niccolo Porcella (Sardegna, Italy) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016
Pedro Scooby (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal on October 27, 2015
Yuri Soledade (Haiku, Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016

If you're a fan of big barrels, there's a surprise for you. The World Surf League made clear there's a woman in contention for the "Barrel of the Year Award." She is, they say, "the first female to be nominated for an open gender category." Impressive. So, Keala Kennelly may well win the trophy unless judges decide to deliver the check to the surfers who caught huge tubes... at Jaws.

Barrel of the Year Award | Nominees

Tom Butler (Newquay, Cornwall, England) at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland on October 28, 2015
Keala Kennelly (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 22, 2015
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 6, 2015
Mark Mathews (Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia) at The Right, Australia on June 26, 2015
Ian Walsh (Haiku, Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 28, 2016

As a result, the Big Wave Awards are becoming too predictable and dull with 65 percent of all nominees hailing from the USA, and 60 percent of the rides being scored in US waters.

The nominees for the "Wipeout of the Year Award," "Women's Best Overall Performance Award" and "Overall Performance Award" will only be announced on the 29th March.

Windsurfing offers multiple sailing opportunities. You can go free riding in a flat water lake or hit the ocean for a wave sailing session. As with everything in water sports, there's a specific rig for each kind of windsurfing discipline.

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