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Nominees Announced in the 11th Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave AwardsSalem-News.com
Greatest Rides and Biggest Waves of the Last Year to be Honored in April.
(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) - The nominees have been announced for the 2011 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards fueled by Monster Energy, and it is shaping up to be another spectacular showdown of surfing’s greatest rides and riders witnessed over the last 12 months.
A slow start to the big wave riding season eventually gained a healthy head of steam, and once again huge waves and amazing rides were captured in stills and video around the world, often at new spots by upcoming surfers. When distilled down to the top five nominees in each of the XXL’s seven divisions, nearly every category is filled with all-time moments, each worthy of being named an XXL champion and earning a share of the $130,000 in prize money at stake. To view all the nominated rides, please see the event website at BillabongXXL.com.
The winners will be announced at the invitation-only Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards party at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on April 29, 2011. The show will be webcast that night, and for the first time ever broadcast on FUEL TV less than 48 hours later on Sunday, May 1 at 9 P.M. ET. This year’s event marks the 11th-annual edition of the XXL and begins a larger broadcast partnership with FUEL to greatly expand the production levels of the stage and television presentations.
In the top-line Billabong XXL Ride of the Year division there are five very diverse waves ridden by equally diverse surfers. These include: Tasmanian Michael Brennan’s massive air drop and miracle recovery inside a huge tube at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania; Brazilian Danilo Couto’s wild paddle-in ride at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii (once the private domain of jet-powered tow surfers); Hawaiian Mark Healey’s huge outer reef drop and cover-up somehow caught on video from miles away on shore; France’s Benjamin Sanchis in a massive backside barrel on an ominous wave at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland; and Australian David Scard’s long-form drive through an impossibly perfect tube at Cloudbreak, Fiji. The Ride of the Year winner will receive $50,000 and a year lease on a 2012 Toyota Tacoma truck.
A video summary of all five Ride of the Year Nominees assembled into a single clip may be viewed or embedded via this YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnEB0o8URPI
With the intense focus on paddling into bigger and bigger waves in recent years, the Monster Paddle Award has taken its place as one of the most prestigious honors in all of surfing as it acknowledges those surfers who caught the greatest waves the old-fashioned way, with simple arm power and no jet-ski assist. Included in the list of nominees for the Monster Paddle Award are: Danilo Couto again for his breathtaking late drop at Jaws; Hawaiian legend Shane Dorian for his own mind-bending effort to catch a giant at Jaws and pull into the tube; Hawaiian Mark Healey’s steep and chilly plunge over the ledge at Maverick’s in Northern California; Sion Milosky’s charge down an immense peak at Outer Reef, Oahu; and Australia’s Mark Yazbeck on a wave at Waimea Bay, Oahu which ultimately closed out The Bay, a very rare occurrence.
Sion Milosky is the first surfer to be nominated for an XXL Award posthumously, earning nods in both the Monster Paddle and the Surfline Best Overall Performance categories this year. The humble waterman, originally from Kauai and more recently living on Oahu’s North Shore, was on an amazing trajectory as a big wave rider, rapidly moving from underground charger into the ranks of the sport’s elite, chasing swells across oceans at a moment’s notice and gaining attention from both the public and sponsors. After several impressive sessions at Maverick’s on the final swells of the winter season, Milosky drowned on March 16, 2011. Milosky was 35 years old and leaves a wife and two young daughters. Contributions may be made to the Sion Milosky Family fund at Volcom.com
Nominees have also been announced in the other categories of the XXL event including the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award, the Monster Tube Award, the Surfline Best Overall Performance Award (male), the Billabong Girls best Performance Award (female) and the ever-popular Verizon Wipeout Award. All the surfers, photographers and videographers are listed below and all the nominated still and video images can be viewed at the event website at BillabongXXL.com.
The nominees for 2011, in alphabetical order:
FIVE BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Michael Brennan (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on April 10, 2010.
FIVE MONSTER PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES
Danilo Couto (Bahia, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 8, 2011.
FIVE BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES
Eric Akiskalian (Gig Harbor, Washington, USA) at South Reef, Lincoln City, Oregon on November 2, 2010.
FIVE MONSTER TUBE AWARD NOMINEES
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on March 15, 2011.
FIVE SURFLINE BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
Kohl Christensen (Kailua, Hawaii, USA)
FIVE BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
Easkey Britton (Rossnowlagh, Ireland)
FIVE VERIZON WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Tiago Candelot (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 20, 2011.
The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are fueled by Monster Energy. Verizon is the official wireless communications provider and Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. Toyota is the official vehicle and Contour the exclusive provider of point of view cameras. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui. FUEL TV is the official television partner of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.
Our sincere congratulations to Salem-News.com writer Eric Akiskalian and tow partner Keith Galbraith for being selected as 1of the 5 nominees in this year's Billabong XXL Global Big-Wave Awards under the 'Biggest Wave Category'.
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