Derek Dunfee wins the Monster Paddle Award

The gladiators of big wave surfing took center stage in California last night for the ninth annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.


 Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the XXL awards recognize the biggest and ugliest waves ridden over the past twelve months as judged by a global panel of 250 surf industry, former pros and big wave specialists.  Over 2000 people packed the Grove Theatre in Anaheim to witness mind-blowing rides from Chile, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, California and French Polynesia. 
 
Californian big wave surfer Greg Long, 26, took top honors at the gala ceremony and was handed $50,000 for winning the Ride Of The Year Category. Long’s entry came from a ride he conquered during the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event on July 26th 2008 at Dungeons, a renowned high surf location off Cape Town.

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Joel Parkinson conquers the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, has claimed the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers, defeating fellow Finalist Adam Robertson (AUS), 26, trials winner and event wildcard, in pumping six-foot (2 metre) conditions at Bells Beach.

The second stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach enjoyed pristine conditions for the business end of competition, with capacity crowds turning up to watch the current ASP World No. 1 battle the local Victorian in a historic Final.

Today’s victory marks the second time Parkinson has hoisted the bell (the first being in 2004), and the reputation and acclaim associated with the iconic event is something every surfer dreams of.

"Winning at home is probably the most special win you can have but this is the most special trophy you can have,” Parkinson said. “There is not another trophy in surfing that holds the prestige and honor list that this has. To be back on the trophy again and to hold it for a year is going to be amazing.”

Parkinson’s win today makes it two for two thus far on the 2009 ASP World Tour ratings, cementing the stylish natural-footer’s place atop the ratings in the hunt for the ASP World Title.

“I took confidence from home and now from here I’ll take more,” Parkinson said. “People can get caught up in the whole world title race, but I always said I wanted start the year with some results – I just never thought I would start this well. There are a lot of really hungry, angry surfers that are behind me and will come out so strong in the next events. I’m just showing up to the next event with my same game plan and taking things step by step. I’ve said since the Gold Coast that the World Title is a marathon, not a sprint. There are still eight events.”

While Robertson opened up strong, it was Parkinson’s forehand flair and precision that saw the Gold Coaster net an impressive 17.40 out of a possible 20 heat total for the win.

“Robbo (Adam Robertson) and I were having a great time out there,” Parkinson said. “We were talking about what it takes to win and having a wonderful Final. I have to really pay Robbo a huge compliment because of his effort out here. For a wildcard and coming through the trials, he surfed so many heats, (I think nine) and what’s he accomplished is just so admirable.”

Robertson’s effort at the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will go down in history, as the young natural-footer’s runner-up finish is the highest ever by a Victorian at the prestigious competition.

“I guess I just got on a roll in the heat against Bede (Durbidge) and the waves were really good and they suited me,” Robertson said. “I just had to roll with it and I am really happy with the result.”

Throughout the course of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Robertson went toe-to-toe with the world’s best surfers, eliminating Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, Tom Whitaker (AUS), 29, Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, among others in the process. Despite not having a major sponsor, Robertson’s nine-heat effort proved to all that he’s capable of world-class surfing.

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Clean Water Classic

The 8th annual Clean Water Classic surfing contest will be held Friday, May 15th through Sunday, May 17th 2009 at Westport, Washington. This event is a benefit for the Pacific Northwest chapters of the Surfrider Foundation and, in the past, the event has been awarded the Surfrider Foundation Chapter Event of the Year. Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches for all people through conservation, activism, research and education.

Surfrider Foundation has multiple chapters in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Shannon Serrano, Washington State Field Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, describes the current work of the Washington Surfrider chapters. "I am very excited to see the chapters involvement in campaigns increase, from plastics to rescue tug out on Neah Bay. And the continued public outreach by chapters to work for beach access, something we would all love to see more of in Washington."

Gus Gates, Oregon Policy Coordinator, describes the work of Surfrider volunteers in Oregon. "Surfrider Foundation volunteers and members in Oregon participate in a myriad of activities from water quality monitoring and beach cleanups, planning for marine reserves and protected areas, facilitating wave energy discussions, to education and outreach on the need to reduce the consumption of single use plastics and their impact on the marine environment."

Proceeds from the Clean Water Classic directly fund Pacific Northwest chapters of the Surfrider Foundation for a variety of campaigns. Shannon recaps what the Washington chapters did with their proceeds from the 2008 event. "We had chapters use the funds to continue their Blue Water Testing efforts and other chapters look towards raising watershed awareness with carpool and busing efforts as well as upkeep of local surf spots."

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