Watch: This year's Big Wave Award nominees

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of video content on offer these days, so when the WSL edits together a series of very best rides from 2017/18 it's worth watching. It's the highest of highlights across seven big wave categories: Biggest Paddle Wave; Biggest Wave; Tube of the Year; Wipeout of the Year; Women's Performance Award; Men's Performance Award; and the Ride of the Year.

This year the WSL is throwing down $350,000 toward the Big Wave Awards. In the past surfers have taken umbrage that prizemoney favours tow surfers, however that argument has been squared away. First prize for the largest paddle wave is $30,000 compared to $25,000 for the largest wave which is almost always tow-powered. Meanwhile, first place for the Ride of the Year, which is based on performance not size and hence can be paddle or tow, takes home $75,000.

Here are nominees for five of the seven categories. See below for full list of nominees.

Ride of the Year nominees

Biggest Paddle Award nominees

Biggest Wave Award nominees

Wipeout of the Year nominees

Women's Performance Award nominees

RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prizes total $125,000  -  Videographer prizes total $13,000

The Ride of the Year is the top-line category of the event and is awarded to the surfer who demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video-footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded. The category carries the biggest prize of the Big Wave Awards with $75,000 for the winner, $20,000 for second place, $15,00 for third, $10,000 for fourth and $5,000 for fifth place. The first place videographer will receive $6,000, second place will receive $2,500, $2,000 for third place, $1,500 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth.
     
Ross Clarke-Jones (Avoca, New South Wales, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Video by Pedro Miranda.)
Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
     (Video by WSL Video Team.)
Kai Lenny (Paia, Hawaii, USA) at Nelscott Reef, Oregon on November 29, 2017.
     (Video by Ian Kennelly.)
Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Video by Javier Goya.)
Ian Walsh (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
     (Video by Dan Norkunas.)
  
BIGGEST PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prize $30,000 - Photographer prize $5,000

Lucas Chianca (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 4, 2018.
      (Photos by Vitor Estrelinha and Rafael G. Riancho.  Video by Cesinha Feliciano.)
Lucas Chianca (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018.
      (Photos by Tony Heff, Aaron Lynton and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe.)
Nathan Florence (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018.
     (Photos by Photos by Dooma Photos, Aaron Lynton and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Aldo Tassara.)
Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 13, 2018.
     (Photos by Dooma Photos, Aaron Lynton and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Bruno Lemos.)
Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018.
     (Photos by Erik Aeder, Brent Broza, Robin Ernst, Tony Heff and Aaron Lynton. Video by Tony Heff.) 

QUIKSILVER AIRLIFT XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prize $25,000 - Photographer prize $5,000

Ross Clarke-Jones (Avoca, New South Wales, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Photos by Bruno Aleixo and Ricardo Bravo.  Video by Humberto Santos.)
Rodrigo Koxa (Guarujá, SP, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 8, 2017.
     (Photos by Raphael Alvim, Pedro Cruz, Rafael G. Riancho, Manuel Ricardo and Leandro Sieves. Video by Carlos Muriongo.)
Kai Lenny (Paia, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018
     (Photos by Dooma Photos, Tony Heff, Aaron Lynton, Fred Pompermayer and Stu Soley. Video by Marcus Rodrigues.)
Benjamin Sanchis (Hossegor, France) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Photos by Bruno Aleixo, Helio Antonio, Andre Botelho, Antonio Bravo and Vitor Estrelinha. Video by Michael Darrigade.)
Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Photos by Helio Antonio, Andre Botelho, Rafael G. Riancho, Surfemotions and Gillen Usandizaga. Video by Nuno Dias.)
 
TUBE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prize $10,000 - Still photography prize $5,000

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018.
     (Photos by Dooma Photos, Aaron Lynton, Fred Pompermayer and Randy Sarrow.)
Mick Corbett (Perth, W.A. Australia) at The Right, Western Australia on May 16, 2016.
     (Photo by Trent Slatter.)
Tyler Hollmer-Cross (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on July 25, 2017.
     (Photo by Andrew Chisholm.)
Billy Kemper (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 27, 2017.
     (Photos by Richard Hallman, Tony Heff and Keoki Saguibo.)
Ian Walsh (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
     (Photos by Adam Carbajal, Richard Hallman, Paul Karaolides, Tracy Leboe and Sofie Louca.)

WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prize $5,000  -  Videographer prize $2,000

Andrew Cotton (Braunton, Devon, United Kingdom) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 8, 2017.
     (Video by Pedro Miranda.)
Billy Kemper (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
     (Video by WSL Video Team.)
Coco Nogales (Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on July 31, 2017.
     (Video by Yana Vaz.)
Eli Olson (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 13, 2018.
     (Video by Bruno Lemos.)
Owen Schultz (Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico) at Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.
     (Video by Remi Blanc.)

HYDRO FLASK WOMEN’S BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
First prize $15,000, $32,500 total

Paige Alms (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
Justine Dupont (Seignosse, France)
Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Keala Kennelly (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) 
Bianca Valenti (Mill Valley, California, USA)

The ten men receiving nominations for the Men’s Best Overall Performance Award are still under review by the nomination panel and will be announced on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The category is regarded as one of the most prestigious and important in the event as it selects an additional four surfers who will be seeded into every WSL Big Wave Tour competition for the coming year.

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 12:47pm

Interesting comparisons in the world of Big Wave Surfing between Tow and Paddle.

Looks like Tow has been increasingly wedged into going straight down monster peaks at Nazare with zero performance while paddle is now not just paddling into giant waves but threading tubes and making them. Seems a much greater progression.

Wonder how the judges will see it.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 1:44pm

How the hell can you compare Tow and paddle when Tow now is for waves you can't paddle into?
As for performance , if you could tow into those paddle waves , there would be barrel rides(Backdoor the peak at Jaws) , hacks off the top , manoeuvres and basically hot dogging big waves.....

x

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 2:06pm

That's old man talk, the kind you do when you've given up on progressing any further. You may convince yourself that tow surfing is pushing the boundaries but everyone else knows the jet ski is a crutch.

You and Schmucker make a great pair.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 4:11pm

ha , old man's sport, so ya reckon the boys at the Right/Pedra Blanca/Cyclops/Shipsterns should be paddling?

The paddlers do not go out without Jetski's as water safety , so now you are calling them out as using a crutch ?
Who's Schmucker?
Do you surf at all?

x

W41's picture
W41's picture
W41 commented Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018 at 3:42pm

Lol! A very well know surf photographer took the ski ropes off Jughead and Co at Cyclops,when the boys were unsure after a while. Made a crazy barrel! Jughead took the ropes and next wave was in hospital..
When towing nut waves' sometime the unexpected occurs.. But anyone who can surf can take the rope and put them self's in a situation they are not ready for! Hence our chops seal waving to us going over the falls here.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 1:42pm

That's pretty much the case, at least in a year that sees no XXL Teahupoo swells.

Speaking of, I wonder if there's a driving curiousity to see where the limits of Chopes paddling lies. No point saying unconditionally that it can't be done, they said the exact same thing about paddling Jaws and paddling Nazare, so as the barriers inexorably peel back to reveal what's possible there's a likelihood someone will put their hand up for it.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 2:34pm

I think the consequences are too high at teahupoo. Need to be in early and have a safe line.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 2:44pm

Perhaps the consequences are too high, but surely there'd be someone, maybe even a few people, strategising about how it could be done. The pull towards being the first is strong, first person to ride it, first person to set 'emselves on fire or whatever, well done Jamie O, so I don't reckon everyone would flatly resist the challenge.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 2:11pm

Bit weird that Hippo's wave qualifies for the prestigious Ride of the year but can't make the grade for tube of the year. That thing was crazy!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 4:02pm

Walsh has got to get tube of the year surely.
And therefore ride of the year?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 4:13pm

Paddling Teahupoo, I think it’s just a whole different beast to Jaws and Nazaré.
Kinda like paddling The Right
What kind of board would one need? Smallish, heavy, high volume?

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018 at 5:49pm

A couple of the nazza waves look insane knife edge full rail spray , no bumps like their hooking down a mountain snow boarding at what feels like terminal velocity when ya doin it.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018 at 9:32am

Ian Walsh's barrel at Peahi is far and away the most innovative big wave ridden and filmed for me this year; whatever their categories. And paddle-in must have priority over tow by virtue of all the skill and courage is in one body.

As far as tow goes, RCJ going right on that unpredictable monster at Nazare has my vote.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018 at 6:37pm

FYI The XXL are good for the surfers but for cameramen that invest everything into getting the shot its not worth us giving our data to this organization. Once they have it they pretty much own it. Forever! The WSL can use it however they want. Sure they can't sell it off or let a company that supports the WSL use it but really its not worth our while. Bill Sharp does a good job making sure that the photographers/camera get a great credit but for most of the more senior cameramen with thousands of $$ of gear it just doesn't pay the bills. ALTHOUGH if a surfer wants his or her shot entered I do the right thing and enter it. For the record, there's $ if they use a shot online and a $1000 US for a nomination and then the prize money if the surfer wins or gets a place from a nominated wave. Anything from $1000 to $6000 US. Which is actually pretty good but for them to own it, im not sure, especially when I will probably put it aside for a future movie. There's no doubt the WSL want all the gold but for a few of us we need to be protective.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Wednesday, 11 Apr 2018 at 6:38pm

HERE'S ALL THE INFO IF YOUR INTERESTED.
http://www.worldsurfleague.com/pages/big-wave-awards-about

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell commented Thursday, 12 Apr 2018 at 1:37am

photographers are getting jipped these days Tim

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Friday, 13 Apr 2018 at 9:03am

Handsome payday for Ian Walsh $100k winning Peahi and 75k for ride of the year. Finally cash coming in for those lords

Nathan Fletcher been trying to paddle Chopes on big board. Sure Jug would have a crack if we all put in a gofund me page

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Friday, 13 Apr 2018 at 9:05am

Also Tim why don't you form an association like Gettys Images and try and get the WSL to pay...not like they short of cash. Red Bull pay if you document a swell exclusive and they have media house to process.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

John Eyre's picture
John Eyre's picture
John Eyre commented Friday, 13 Apr 2018 at 9:33am

Nathan fletchers board snapped but it was the right idea just the wave was too sucky....that was a pity broke it first wave?..........big wave paddle ins at teahuopo next 15ft paddle swell...