Big Wave Tour Adds Women's and Qualifying Events

2016/2017 Big Wave Tour
Another year of big waves and even bigger performances is ahead.

The new Big Wave Tour (BWT) season is upon us, with the opening of the Southern Hemisphere window on April 27. And after a huge -- literally and figuratively -- season in 2016/2017, the Tour is stepping things up a notch with four new potential events.

This past El Niño season upped the ante for big wave surfing on many levels: The 2016 Big Wave Awards is more competitive than ever, the winners of the Big Wave Tour (BWT) events had groundbreaking performances, and the women of the big wave community made their presence known. In response, the BWT folks are adding an event in Nazaré, Portugal, two qualifying events and a potential women's event.

Here's the breakdown for the 2016/2017 BWT season:


Sneak Peek: Billabong Pico Alto
A look at the landscape and majesty of the towering wave at Pico Alto, Peru.

$100,000 prize purse for each event; $100,000 awarded to tour champion. 24 athletes: 2015/2016 Top 10 + 1 injury wildcard + Top 4 Big Wave Award performers + 6 regional wildcards + 3 BWT wildcards
-Southern Hemisphere
Window: April 27, 2016 - August 31, 2016
Events: Punta de Lobos Challenge, Billabong Pico Alto, Puerto Escondido Challenge
-Northern Hemipshere
Window: October 15,2016 - February 28, 2017
Events: Nazaré Challenge, Pe'ahi Challenge, Todos Santos Challenge

Nic Lamb at Nazaré, Portugal on December 23, 2015. Photo by Vitor Estrelinha. An entry into the 2016 Paddle Award category. Nic Lamb, who finished No. 4 on the 2015/2016 rankings at Nazaré, site of the newest addition to the Big Wave Tour. - WSL / Vitor Estrelinha

Top two ranked surfers will qualify for 2017/2018 season.
Window: October 15, 2016 - February 28, 2017
Events: Oregon, Punta Galea

$30,000 prize purse; Contested by athletes picked by the commissioner's office
Window: October 15, 2016 - February 28, 2017
Events: Pe'ahi, Todos Santos