While Josh Kerr managed to best the 24-man field at the Todos Santos Challenge, nabbing a cool US$18,750 and a slick TAG Heuer Aquaracer watch, there was no shortage of incredible performances on Sunday. But in surfing, like all challenging endeavors, the rewards of true commitment are often juxtaposed with those who tried and failed -- and there were a lot of fails at Todos. Behold, a little collection of the carnage.
The Todos Santos Challenge ran for the first time since 2010 in epic El Niño swell. The break is located an hour and a half south of the United States-Mexico border and 11 miles off the coast. The ocean's raw power was matched only by the sheer bravery (or insanity, depending on how you look at it...) of the big-wave chargers who made some incredible drops, but also suffered some heavy wipeouts throughout the day.
Nic Vaughan put on a solid performance throughout Round 1, Heat 1 of the Todos Santos Challenge. But in the dying minutes he was pushed into elimination position four after Mark Healey found one of the highest scores of the heat. Vaughan made a desperate attempt to get himself back into the top three and make it to the Semis, but Todos Santos had other plans.
Despite making some noteworthy attempts, local invitees Diego Pertusso and Vicente Yazbeck, weren't able to overcome their elite-level competition. Wipeouts from both surfers in Round 1, however, demonstrated their serious commitment.
But it was emerging star James Taylor whose commitment was nearly unparalleled during Round 1, Heat 4. The South African took beating after beating as he attempted to make it through to the Semifinals. "He saw fire, he saw rain," added commentator Chris Cote, quoting from the singer who shares the surfer's name. "Do not forget the name James Taylor in future Big Wave Tour events."
Big-wave veteran Carlos Burle, meanwhile, made it all the way to the event Final, but paid the price along the way. The Brazilian charger attempted to the opt out of a wave during the Semis, but the ocean swallowed him whole at the beginning of a three-wave set.
Former Big Wave World Champion Greg Long -- who suffered a near-death drowning at the big-wave break several years ago -- held nothing back during the Todos Santos Challenge Final. He committed on one of the bigger waves, but ultimately got eaten alive by the wave.