The remaining nominations for the 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards have been released, with video of the five most spectacular wipeouts of the year leading the way along with the top overall performer lists for men and women. This year’s event features over $250,000 in total prize money, and with four categories already public, the highly anticipated TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year, the Surfline Best Overall Performance, and the Women’s Best Overall Performance award nominees have been announced today.
The performance awards acknowledge the top ten men and top five women over the course of the last 12 months based on every ride captured on video or still images all around the world. Shortlisted surfers include big wave heavyweights Shane Dorian, Keala Kennelly and Mark Healey, as well as the 2015/16 Big Wave Tour Champion, Greg Long. The nominations also include up-and-comers Will Skudin, Kai Lenny and Emi Erickson. Photographs and motion pictures of all the Surfline Overall and Women’s Best Performance nominated surfers can be viewed at WorldSurfLeague.com/BigWave.
While the performance categories salute the most successful rides of the past year, the TAG Heuer Wipeout division presents the most amazing unsuccessful rides for online review. Video of the modern surfing’s greatest aquatic mishaps has become a popular viral staple among surfing fans worldwide, often attracting millions of views and taking its place as a good-natured fixture in the Big Wave Awards proceedings.
“Since the first surf movies of the 1950s, celebrating the best wipeouts of the year has been a time-honored tradition in the surfing community,” said Bill Sharp, event director for the WSL Big Wave Awards. “It’s not a category anyone intentionally sets out to win, but at the end of the season the surfers themselves appreciate being honored for showing their mettle even if it went wrong along the way. This El Niño year produced the best big waves in history and you can probably say the same thing about the TAG Heuer Wipeout nominees — most of them have become internet sensations individually, but all five together are two minutes of magnificent mayhem and must be seen to be believed. It might be hard to fathom, but all the nominees came through their ordeals OK and will be happy to be joining us at the awards show.”
The 16th annual WSL Big Wave Awards competition window ran from March 21, 2015 through March 15, 2016. Every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in this period was eligible for consideration across seven categories. Now that the nominees have been selected, several judging panels will review the photographic and video evidence and determine the final placings. This year, more magnitude than ever rides on the Surfline Overall Performance rankings as the four highest-placing surfers not already qualified will gain seeded spots on the 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour which spans six one-day events in locations around the globe.
The winners will be crowned at a gala awards show at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on April 23.
The TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Award goes to the surfer who displays the most committed — yet least successful — wave of the event window. Truly epitomizing the courage needed for big wave surfing, the surfers nominated for this accolade show no shortage of heart and commitment. The winner of this award will receive $3,000 and the videographer who captured the wipeout will receive $2,000. Two of the five wipeouts took place at the Maverick’s California during some of the most massive El Niño winter swells, including Matt Becker, the young charger from Santa Barbara, California, and Garrett McNamara from Hawaii. Pedro Calado joins this year’s shortlist with a massive nosedive at Puerto Escondido, Mexico, as well as Niccolo Porcella for his over-the-falls drop at Teahupoo, Tahiti. Rounding out the nominations is Tom Dosland for his must-watch-tethered-dangle at Jaws, Maui.
TAG HEUER WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES:
(Surfer prize $3,000 – Videographer prize $2,000)
Matt Becker (Santa Barbara, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2016. (Video by Dan Norkunas.)
Pedro Calado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on May 3, 2015. (Video by Daniel Balbuena.)
Tom Dosland (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 27, 2016. (Video by Bruno Lemos.)
Garrett McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on January 7, 2016. (Video by Chris Wilson)
Niccolo Porcella (Sardegna, Italy) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 22, 2015. (Video by Tim Pruvost.)
The Surfline Best Overall Performance is given to the male surfer who not only puts on the greatest number of outstanding performances in the most diverse number of venues, but also demonstrates a high level of excellence in water safety leadership. Both paddle-in and tow-in disciplines are considered. First prize will receive $15,000, second place will win $5,000, and $2,000 will be given to the third place winner. This year’s finalists include Hawaiians Trevor Sven Carlson, Aaron Gold, Mark Healey, and Kai Lenny. The shortlist also includes Californians Greg Long, the 2015/16 Big Wave Tour Champion, and Nic Lamb. Pedro Calado from Brazil, Jamie Mitchell from Australia, and Will Skudin form New York, USA also are up for the award. Lastly, the 2015 Surfline Overall Performance Award winner, Shane Dorian, is in contention for a back-to-back win in this category.
SURFLINE BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES:
(First prize $15,000 – Second prize $5,000 – Third Prize $2,000)
Pedro Calado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Trevor Sven Carlson (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA)
Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
Mark Healey (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
Nic Lamb (Santa Cruz, California, USA)
Kai Lenny (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA)
Jamie Mitchell (Currumbin, Queensland, Australia)
Will Skudin (Long Beach, New York, USA)
The Women’s Best Performance is awarded to the female surfer who not only puts on the greatest number of outstanding performances in the most diverse number of venues, but also demonstrates a high level of excellence in water safety leadership. Both paddle-in and tow-in disciplines are considered for this accolade. This year’s nominees showcased a new level of big wave surfing with rides from previous award winners Paige Alms and Keala Kennelly. Past nominees Andrea Moller and Emi Erickson have also made the shortlist, as well as first-timer Bethany Hamilton.
WOMEN’S BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES:
(First prize $10,000 – Second prize $2,000 – Third Prize $1,000)
Paige Alms (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
Emi Erickson (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
Bethany Hamilton (Hanalei, Hawaii, USA)
Keala Kennelly (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
Andrea Moller (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
A panel of judges will review the nominated rides and the winners will be revealed at the invitation-only Big Wave Awards on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.
For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com.