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 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 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.


Montauk Point 

The closing of the Montauk Point surf season is upon us and with it comes the end of two blissful months of legal surfing.

After years of conflict between surfers and local anglers, the Long Island region of state parks issued a regulation change in January of 2009, which gave surfers legal access to surf Montauk Point (the fishing season for striped bass runs from April 15th- Dec 15th).

Surfrider Foundation's Long Island and New York chapters have been heavily involved in the "Free The Montauk Eight" campaign, which supported eight surfers that were ticketed in 2007 for surfing this area.

Although the tickets were dismissed and a "surfing window" has now been established, keeping surfers out of the water when this place turns on may continue to be an issue.


2009 ISA World Junior Championships 

A powerful 6-8 foot south swell slammed into la FAE beach today making for challenging conditions for surfers at the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships. Amazing performances were turned in by the world's best young surfers as they bravely fought through treacherous currents and clean up sets.

“We had some high scores today but for most of the competitors, it was really difficult,” said Contest Announcer Gary Linden. “La FAE is one of the most consistent waves in Ecuador because it is the most exposed. When it gets big, it is often too big. In most contests, you are always hoping the swell will come up but in this one we are hoping it backs down some. Tomorrow and through the weekend will be really good as the swell fades and these kids are able to show more performance surfing.”

Under 16 Boys teammates Carlos Muñoz and Jordan Hernandez found the right waves in their heats and showed the world today that Costa Rica is home to a stable of exciting junior surfers. The team's star, Carlos Muñoz, is surfing in both Under 18 and Under 16 division. He could potentially surf an exhausting 20 heats this week.

The competition has gotten much tighter as the event continues on to the later rounds. Heat three of the Boys Under 16 was stacked with the future of surfing's powerhouses as South Africans David Brand and Mikey February faced USA's Kolohe Andino and Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau. In the end Brand took the win, followed by Andino for second, and February and Lau in third and fourth, falling to the repercharge rounds.

The standout of the day for the Under 16 Boys was Hawaii's Keanu Asing. His experience in bigger waves proved to be advantageous in today's conditions. Taking off on a solid 8 foot wave, Asing put together a combination of beautiful backhand turns, connecting to the inside and finishing off with a few more solid hacks in the shorebreak.

The French team currently leads the Under 18 Girls division with all four surfers still in the main rounds. Teammates Canelle Bulard and Justine Dupont ended up in the same heat today, but were able to both advance, taking first and second over Peruvian Nadja de Col and New Zealand surfer Rosa Thompson. French surfers Johanne Defay and Marie Dejean also made it through their heats to advance on to round four.