Zane Schweitzer claims 2020/2021 IWT Big Wave Awards

June 8, 2021 | Windsurfing
Zane Schweitzer: the grand winner 2020/2021 IWT Big Wave Awards | Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries

Zane Schweitzer is the grand winner of the International Windsurfing Tour (IWT) Big Wave Awards.

The event's ceremony was held on Maui's north shore on Saturday night to announce the big wave champions.

Covid-19 restrictions on outdoor gatherings were opened June 1, 2021, on Maui, and so the organizers immediately planned the big night for the first Saturday, June, so that everyone could finally come together for this special night.

For almost all on Maui, this was the first time they had been allowed to gather in a big group since the onset of the pandemic, so it was a very special time.

Everyone celebrated the brave water safety crews, the skilled photographers and videographers and, of course, the truly incredible riders.

The guest list was a who's who of the big wave riders world.

The event welcomed the first generation of legends in the 1970s and 1980s like Matt Schweitzer and Robby Naish and the grand and great ambassadors of the sport.

But there was also a second generation of legends like Jason Polakow, Kevin Pritchard, shaping guru and rider Keith Teboul and others, and the third generation of current world leaders like Ricardo Campello, Robby Swift, Adam Lewis, and Zane Schweitzer.

The new exciting next generation of riders like Jake and Z Schettewi, and Luc Guidroz also attended the event.

With them, all were friends and family and all those supporters of this extraordinary big wave rider community.

Every one of these riders, from Robby Naish at 58, all the way down to Luc Guidroz at 16, were charging the biggest waves in the world earlier this year, and we salute them all.

Brave, skilled, and more than a little crazy. It was a gathering of minds, of athletes, of shared experience that very few other riders will ever share.

Big wave riders are a very special breed and we were there to celebrate them all.

Unable to join the party because of the difficult international travel right now, were many great riders who were sorely missed.

They included finalists Morgan Noireux, Adam Warchol, Karin Jaggi, Katie McAnena, Timo Mullen, Kai Lenny, and Thomas Traversa.

These Big Wave Awards have no sponsors, so there was no prize money, as there is no financial support from the industry or from any outside corporates.

All the costs and all the time involved here are shouldered by the IWT and the dedicated people who run it all behind the scenes.

The IWT Big Wave Awards will feature as the premier topic for the upcoming Riders Lounge TV series, directed and edited by Jace Panebianco, hosted by Kai Katchadourian, Jace Panebianco, and interviews with the winners to get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at what went down and to hear direct from these champions.

The Rides

The 2020/2021 IWT Big Wave Awards were dominated by the giant day at Peahi on January 16 earlier this year.

Live-streamed around the world and photographed and videoed by the best ocean action sports media professionals on the planet, this was an astonishing day of big wave riding.

Many great rides went down on that day and on the big day two days earlier on January 14 at Peahi.

But these were not the only waves to feature in the IWT Big Wave list of finalists in each division.

Finalists included rides from Nazaré in Portugal, Mullaghmore in Ireland, Leitrim in Ireland, Basque coast in Spain, and Margaret River in Australia.

2020/2021 IWT Big Wave Awards | Winners

Open Pro Champion
Rider: Zane Schweitzer
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

Women's Champion
Rider: Sarah Hauser

Sarah Hauser, January 14, 2021, Peahi | Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries

Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 14, 2021

Youth Champion
Rider: Adam Warchol

Adam Warchol, January 16, 2021, Peahi | Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries

Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

Masters Champion
Rider: Jason Polakow

Jason Polakow, January 16, 2021, Peahi | Photo: Erik Aeder

Photo: Erik Aeder
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

Most Radical Big Wave Rider Awards

Most Radical Champion
Rider: Marcilio Browne

Marcilio Browne, January 16, 2021, Peahi | Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries

Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

Storm Rider Champion
Rider: Thomas Traversa

Thomas Traversa, October 3, 2020, Nazaré | Photo: Heidi Hansen Photography

Photo: Heidi Hansen Photography
Place: Nazaré, Portugal
Date: October 3, 2020

Biggest Wipeout
Rider: Adam Warchol

Adam Warchol, January 16, 2021, Peahi | Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries

Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe'ahi, Jaws, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

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