Big Wave Challenge Updates Rule On Biggest Waves
Two weeks after the inaugural awards ceremony for the Big Wave Challenge, organisers have updated a ruling on their biggest wave categories.
"For an entered wave to be considered for nomination in the categories of biggest wave (paddle) or biggest wave (tow) of the Big Wave Challenge, the surfer must have successfully completed the “meaningful part of the wave.” In this case that will be defined as having fully ridden through at least the second significant section of the wave.
"While every wave is different, as a general example the first section of a big wave will include the drop and the initiation of a bottom turn. In more cases than not, it is that next (second) section of the wave that will include the completion of the bottom turn followed by the most dramatic challenge, often a tube (or otherwise threatening and steep period).
"If a surfer completes the wave past this point while still under control it will be regarded as a 'Make'. A surfer will not be required to complete the final section(s) of the wave unscathed and slide out the back with dry hair to retain 'Make' status, (although that is the maximum measure of success).
"If a surfer completes the described meaningful portion of the wave and then straightens out, does a flying kickout or is clipped by a minor inside section, it will still be regarded as a wave eligible for nomination and will be considered for its merits as a potential nominee. Entered waves may still be displayed on the event website and social media through the season while their 'Make' status is analyzed."
When the awards were announced, Chacha Ibarra and Laura Enever won the men and women's awards for biggest paddle waves - Enever also claiming a Guiness World Record into the deal. Neither, however, made their waves and questions were asked of the entries.
The Big Wave Challenge wouldn't be drawn on what the new rule meant for past winners: "We are only looking forward," was their reply when asked. "Previous winners and records will stand. All will be broken correctly in the future."
Though it may just lead to further questions about where the meaningful part of the wave begins or ends, big wave surfers such as Twiggy Baker and Greg Long expressed their delight in the Instagram comments, while Jamie Sterling wrote, "Thank you for putting a stop to the "go straight inflate" generation.
It's worth noting that, had the new ruling been in place in 2016, Aaron Gold may not have held the world record for his 63 foot wave at Jaws.
It's also worth noting that, while wearing a vest, Gold didn't inflate it when swatted after takeoff.