Rodrigo Koxa: visiting a reef in Teahupoo

What is the best surfing wipeout of the year? The five most incredible surf nightmares have been named and only the gnarliest will won the "Wipeout of the Year" at the 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

Big wave surfing's premier annual event picked Felipe Cesarano, Danny Griffith, Rodrigo Koxa, Mark Mathews and Garrett McNamara in scary moments captured at Teahupoo, Shipstern Bluff, The Right and Jaws, in the last months.

Brazilians Felipe Cesarano and Rodrigo Koxa are well in the running for their horrific missteps at Teahupoo in Tahiti. Australian Mark Mathews is in for his dead-end wave at The Right in Western Australia.

Local Danny Griffith is contending for his stumble at the base of a stair-stepping beast at Tasmania's Shipstern Bluff and Hawaii's Garrett McNamara is nominated for his imitation of a skipping stone down the face of a bomb at Jaws, on the north shore of Maui.

Also announced today are the nominees for the best overall performance categories. According to the rules of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, these divisions will be won by the "surfer who puts on the greatest number of outstanding performances at the most diverse number of venues over the course of the entire year.

Excellence in the water and leadership in safety in both paddle-in and tow-in surfing disciplines will be considered." Essentially the "world champion" award for year-round excellence, on the men's side the nominees for the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award are Hawaiians Kohl Christensen, Shane Dorian and Mark Healey, along with Californians Nathan Fletcher and Greg Long.

On the female side, the Billabong Girls Performance Award nominees include Hawaii's Paige Alms and Keala Kennelly, Brazil's Maya Gabeira and Silvia Nabuco, and California's Savannah Shaughnessy.

The winners of all the categories of this year's event will be announced at the invitation-only Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards party at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2012.

Watch the "Wipeout of the Year" video.

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