The first half of the ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) season, set in the Southern Hemisphere, has come to a close and following a short break, the second half in the Northern Hemisphere will get underway. The world's best big wave chargers are preparing for next half of the season, which kicks off October 15. Three possible competitions will run at world-class big wave venues north of the equator.
The 2014/2015 BWWT season is divided into halves, for the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere, each hosting three potential events in line with optimum swell windows at some of the planet's most renowned big wave sites. The Southern Hemisphere window, which is now complete, ran from April 15 to August 31, 2014 with event options in Chile, Peru, and South Africa. The Northern Hemisphere window begins on October 15, 2014 and runs through February 28, 2015 with event options in Mexico, the Basque Region of Spain, and Maui, Hawaii.
The Southern Hemisphere season saw BWWT event organizers track several exciting swells with the possibility of running all three events. A storm off the coast of South America produced waves that met the required size (30-plus feet) for a Big Wave event and the 2014/2015 season was off and running, kicking off the World Title race.
Most recently, a system that was traveling toward South Africa in mid-August prompted event organizers put the Dungeons Challenge on Yellow Alert -- an indication the event might be called ON in the following five days. The storm system moving toward Cape Town appeared to be promising, but ultimately didn't produce the necessary conditions and the event was returned to standby.
In late June a significant swell headed for South America, and the events in Chile and Peru were both placed on Yellow Alert. With the positive developments closer to Pico Alto, the BWWT team put the Quiksilver Ceremonial Chile back on standby, and gave the go-ahead for the event in Peru.
The Billabong Pico Alto became the first event of the 2014/2015 ASP BWWT season. The event ran Thursday, July 3, 2014 and saw the best big wave surfers on the planet showcase their skills on the 40-foot waves. Hawaiian Makua Rothman (HAW) claimed his first ASP BWWT victory after winning the final heat with a breathtaking late drop over a terrifying ledge. The ASP wildcard defeated reigning World Champion, Grant 'Twiggy' Baker (ZAF) on the way to victory, establishing himself as a major threat. With one event complete Rothman sits at the top of the BWWT rankings with 12,500 points, closely followed by Americans Anthony Tashnick and Shawn Dollar.
The Northern Hemisphere season begins on October 15, 2014 and is comprised of three events: Todos Santos Pro, Mexico; Punta Galea Challenge, Basque Country, Spain; and Pe'ahi Pro, Maui, Hawaii. A team of experts will track swell systems all over the world waiting for those that will produce waves of 25 feet or bigger at one of the remaining three world-class big wave venues.
â€œWe are anxiously awaiting the first-ever paddle in event at Pe'ahi,â€ said Gary Linden, ASP BWWT Vice President. â€œIt's perhaps the most challenging big wave on the planet and it's known for the extremely heavy offshore winds that require a late drop and a subsequent barrel section that is unparalleled.â€
Although the Dungeons Challenge in South Africa and the Quiksilver Ceremonial in Chile did not see sufficient surf to complete the events, the BWWT is committed to supporting the world's best big wave surfers and will be rolling over the $100,000 in prize money for those events to the upcoming contests. Both the Punta Galea Challenge and the Todos Santos Pro will be upgraded to $75,000 prize purses and the Pe'ahi Pro will see its prize money pushed up to $100,000. Should any of the three remaining BWWT events not be held the prize money will be distributed among the Top 10 finishers at the end of the 2014/2015 season. The prize purse will be awarded when the 2014/2015 ASP Big Wave World Champion is crowned at the XXL BWWT Awards next spring.
â€œWe're really pleased to be able to roll over the Southern Hemisphere prize money into the upcoming contests,â€ said ASP BWWT Commissioner, Peter Mel. â€œWith the prospect of three world-class events, some really positive swell predictions, and increased prize money the Northern Hemisphere window looks set to be one of the most exciting seasons yet.â€