The nominees for this year's Billabong XXL Ride of the Year L-R Billy Kemper, Shane Dorian, Shaun Walsh, Greg Long and Grant Baker, with the win going to San Clemente's Greg Long. Image: ASP / Richard Hallman
Last Friday night saw the world’s best big wave surfers take to the red carpet for the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards in Southern California. Unlike last year where it was quite clear who most of the awards would go to, this year's big wave awards was a much tighter race, especially for the Ride of the Year Award which consisted of an all-paddle affair. Well, in the end it was Californian charger Greg Long who took out the top award for his giant left-hander at Oaxaca - a prize that'll no doubt help to boost Long's confidence back to the level of where it was before he nearly drowned last year at Cortes Bank.
"To win Ride of the Year is fantastic, but riding those waves is what I’m here to do," said Greg Long. "The fear is an underlying motivator and turning the fear into something positive is what big wave surfing does for me. When you’re riding a big wave you’re so focused and it’s like time goes into slow motion."
For the first time in the awards history, Twiggy Baker was also awarded the Big Wave World Title at the ceremony, to which he commented "All I ever wanted to do is travel and surf and that’s what this World Title means to me," said Grant Baker. "I’m feeling more competitive than ever. I’d love to have a heat with Kelly Slater in 25 foot plus waves. He’d probably still beat me but at least I’d have a chance."
The award winners:
2013/14 ASP Big Wave World Tour Champion: Grant “Twiggy" Baker
Tube of the Year: Koa Rothman
Billabong Women's Best Overall Performance: Keala Kennelly
Billabong XXL Wipeout: Koa Rothman
Biggest Paddle: Mark Healey
Surfline Best Overall Performance: Grant “Twiggy" Baker
Billabong XXL Biggest Wave: Gautier Garanx
Billabong XXL Ride of the Year: Greg Long
2014/15 ASP Big Wave World Tour:
Southern Hemisphere (April 15, 2014 through August 31, 2014):
Punta de Lobos, Chile
Pico Alto, Peru
Dungeons, South Africa
Northern Hemisphere (October 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015):
Todos Santos, Mexico
Punta Galea, Basque Country Spain