Grant Baker: that's easy for you | Photo: BillabongXXL/Frank Quirarte

The 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards is on fire. In the last weeks, a large fleet of international riders has produced new entries that might change everything in the last minute.


Right now, the big wave contest has already secured dozens of top-quality insane rides. Ireland and the UK clearly want to claim the title. Andrew Cotton caught a monster wave after a huge swell that hit Europe, last week. The surf spot? Mullaghmore Head, the Irish big wave temple, of course.

The huge swell which blasted Europe last week was especially focused on Ireland, with Mullaghmore Head in County Sligo producing the biggest waves ever seen along the Emerald Isle. Andrew Cotton, 32, from Croyde, Devon, United Kingdom was awaiting the monster surf on March 8 along with his Irish tow surfing partner Al Mennie.

"We'd been tracking that swell for about a week," explains Cotton. "All these swells that hit Ireland can be hit and miss with wind and this one couldn't make its mind up".

"I've spent so many swells on that headland with the wind howling but not quite in the right direction and I honestly thought that this was going to be another swell like that. Al Mennie and myself camped out at Mullaghmore the night before and couldn't believe our luck at first light the next day"

"It had been a fairly disappointing winter compared to the previous year and it was far from perfect that day," continued Cotton. "After watching for about 30 minutes and deciding to pick a few off, Al towed me into an absolute bomb. It was my first wave of the day. It felt like a reminder of how good it can get there and why I put the time and effort in".

Dave Wassal, Rusty Long, Shane Dorian, Grant Baker, Greg Long, Mark Healey, Tom Butler, Joao de Macedo, Matt Meola, Alex Botelho, Heloy Junior, Danilo Couto, Nathan Fletcher and many more are inline to hear their names called.

Teahupoo in Tahiti, Jaws in Hawaii, Maverick’s in California and Shipstern Bluff in Australia’s Tasmania, Portugal, Spain and France. are only a few of the locations producing big hits and tough wipe-outs.

The 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards qualifying period runs through the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter and end on the 19th March 2012. The awards ceremony will be held at the Grove Theater, in Anaheim, California, on May 4th.