Billabong XXL

While surfers in the Northern Hemisphere await the arrival of El Niño-fueled big winter waves, there has been no shortage of massive swells around the world in the last six months.

Just last week, Shipstern Bluff -- a notoriously shallow wave off the southern tip of Tasmania, Australia -- produced some of the most spectacular rides of the year and triggered numerous entries into the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

Spawned by a massive storm in the Southern Ocean, the huge swell was challenged by a group of big wave chargers including Aussies Marti Paradisis and Karl Atkins, who used jet powered watercraft to tow into the towering walls of water.

Visiting surfer James Hick -- who hails from the unlikely hometown of Jersey, England -- accomplished some of the day's most heart-stopping rides.

The devilish Tasmanian surf session also featured its share of spectacular wipeouts.  Despite the bone-jarring impacts, there were no serious injuries.

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Garrett Parkes

Australian surfer Garrett Parkes (Byron Bay, NSW, Aus) has taken out the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines today, beating Hawaiian Makua Rothman in a man-on-man final.

Cloud 9 didn’t quite turn on the epic conditions seen for the opening rounds of the unique, specialty event, with finalists having to mix innovative, new-school manoeuvres with aerials, on-rail carves and barrel rides in rising 3-4ft (1-1.5 metre) waves.

Parkes, who stitched up the Gold Coast’s Joel Nantes (Coolangatta) in the quarters before taking down local Carlito Nogalo in the semis, made the most of the smaller conditions to  bag two mid-range scores – a 5.50 and a 4.67- in the extended 35 minute final.

“It wasn’t exactly the real cloud 9, not many barrels,” said Parkes, who collected USD $7,500 for the win.

“But I made do with what I had. I managed to get through a few heats this morning and just keep it going through to the final. I’m stoked.”

Parkes, who was a standout throughout the entire event, said he wasn’t fazed entering the final after Rothman beat event favourite and former pipeline master Jamie O’Brien  in semi one.

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O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada completed Round 1 competition today in windy two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf and the mobile event opted to run competition at North Chesterman’s beach in Tofino, which lies on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The inaugural O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada has now narrowed the competitive field down from 144 to 96, with all surfers out to claim the valuable ratings points on offer at the ASP 6-Star event towards qualification for the 2010 ASP World Tour.

Wade Goodall (Sunshine Coast, AUS), 23, who is well-known for his innovative free surfing maneuvers and his success in the ASP Pro Junior ranks, crushed the event’s top scores in his opening heat at North Chesterman’s beach today, unleashing a brutal backhand attack on two lefthanders to take the opening round’s highest honors with a near-perfect single wave score of a 9.60 which was added to his previous score of an 8.17, securing the highest heat total of the event as well.

“It’s super junky and I just got a bit lucky,” Goodale said. “It’s pure luck if you get a good one. I just got two that opened up and allowed me to get a few good turns in and get a few good scores. Luckily I got them.”

Goodall has been preparing himself for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada over the last few weeks while spending time in Northern California and his comfort in today’s windy, cold conditions paid off.

“I’ve been surfing the cold water over the last few weeks,” Goodall said. “I was up in Northern California for a bit and got used to the booties, so I’m feeling pretty comfortable.”

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