Celebrating the Best of the Biggest

The big-wave community is heading for Southern California this weekend to celebrate one of the most incredible years in surfing history at Saturday Night's Big Wave Awards show. While the annual gathering of tribes serves as a tribute to all big wave riders, seven of the bunch are awarded honored in a variety of categories: Ride of the Year, Tag Heuer Biggest Wave, Paddle, the Pure Scot Barrel, Worst Wipeout, and the Surfline Best Overall performance for men and women. All the nominees stem from swells that over a year-long submission window.

Here's a glimpse at some of this year's nominees.

The Hawaiian pulls off an air-drop right into one of the deepest paddle barrels ever seen at Teahupo'o. Video by Tim Bonython.

Nathan Florence earned himself a spot on the shortlist for the Billabong Ride of the Year. In a crowded lineup on a day that bordered on calling for jetski assist, the younger Florence brother swung on a wave that nobody else wanted. He now stands to earn $60,000 should he win.

Fellow Hawaiian Shane Dorian, however, will be giving Florence a run for his money. Dorian, who's claimed 10 Big Wave Awards wins in various categories previously, is yet again a nominee for the Billabong Ride of the Year. In fact, he accounts for two of the five nominations in the category.

Shane Dorian bends the laws of nature at the Pe'ahi Challenge at Jaws on December 6, 2015. Video by Ryan Moss.

In case you hadn't heard the Big Wave Tour added a women's event for the 2016/2017 season. While the invite list is yet to be finalized you can bet that any of the five nominees for Women's Best Performance are in top consideration.

Keala Kennelly, who competed in one of the first-ever women's big wave events, is up for a best performance award this year which includes a collection of incredible moments.

Tom Dosland gets hung up above the lip and then is boosted into a space walk.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest crowd pleasers is the Tag Heuer Wipeout Award, which honors the best of the least successful attempts in the year's big wave surf. While many suffer, only five get nominationed.

While the cringe-worthy wipeouts earn some noise from the crowd, arguably one of the most awe-inspiring awards is given out to the surfer who forgoes the use of jetski to drop into one of the biggest wave of the year for the Paddle Award. Years ago it was thought that there was a limit in wave size in which a surfer could successfully paddle into. But surfers today are pushing that limit and now five of the best have a the chance to earn $25,000. The locations for this year's nominees range from Maverick's in California to Jaws in Hawaii.

Also honored in the show will be the Pure Scott Barrel, the TAG Heuer Biggest Wave and the Surfline Performance of the Year awards.

To find out who wins, be sure to tune into the event LIVE on the World Surf League website and WSL App at 8 p.m. Pacific local time.

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