- 06 October 2010 | Surfing
The competition window for the 2011 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy runs through the end of Winter next March, but already a tsunami of entries have been received thanks to a run of massive swells in the Southern Hemisphere in recent weeks.
The Billabong XXL Awards recognize the best rides and biggest waves challenged by top surfers at every break on the planet at any time of the year, with the winners decided based on the photographic evidence.
While it’s been a banner year for extra-hollow surfing focal points like Tasmania, Fiji and Mexico (which have produced loads of entries in the Monster Tube category), the XXL Biggest Wave division had been off to a slow start – until yesterday, October 4. That was when a huge Indian Ocean storm lashed Western Australia with a massive swell and a spot known as the “Outer Bombie” of Margaret River came to life -- with Dan Corbett of nearby Dunsborough there to take it on, face to face.
Late in the afternoon, with the help of a jet ski assist, the 23-year-old Corbett dropped into a 50-foot-plus wave which is one of the biggest seen worldwide this year, and one of the bigger waves ever challenged in Australia.
Photographer Jamie Scott (jamiescottimages.com) was there to capture the moment and make it eligible for Billabong XXL Biggest Wave contention. However, Scott did not take too long to relish the moment as a new, bigger round of surf was expected to arrive right away.
“Tomorrow’s swell is meant to be bigger,” said Scott, “peaking in the morning and the winds straight offshore so we’ll just have to see I suppose....”
The XXL event’s global nature has been very clear this year, with spots all over South America filling the event website with a great diversity of big wave action. Chile, Peru and Brazil have all been represented in record numbers, both by surfers and surf spots. The other big producers include the perennially amazing Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania and an epic day of tubes at the exotic Fijian reef pass known as Cloudbreak. Puerto Escondido, Mexico has also produced a number of entries thanks to Southern Hemisphere swells making their way up to North America. All the entries can be easily accessed and viewed at the event website at BillabongXXL.com.
In the coming weeks, the attention of big wave aficionados will turn to the Northern Hemisphere as winter approaches and giant storms unleash their oceanic fury on Hawaii, the US West Coast and Europe. Thanks to modern surf forecasting at Surfline.com, the dozens of top big wave riders who chase each swell are able to easily cross half the world to be where the biggest waves will be with only a few days’ notice.
The 2011 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards feature an array of categories including the $50,000 Ride of the Year, Monster Paddle, Monster Tube and the Verizon Wipeout of the Year. There are also “world champ” awards for the Surfline Best Overall Performance (male) and the Billabong Girls Best Performance (female). The event features over $120,000 in cash prizes for the surfers and photographers who are celebrated at a gala awards function in Southern California each April.