Press Room

WSL Big Wave Award Nominees Announced

The first set of 2019 WSL Big Wave Awards Nominees are in with some of the year's most incredible rides and spills of the 2018/19 season.

LOS ANGELES, Calif./USA (Thursday, April 11, 2019) - The 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards (BWA) nominees are officially locked in. Top honors will be awarded across eight categories: Ride of the Year, Women's XXL Biggest Wave, Men's XXL Biggest Wave, Women's Biggest Paddle, Men's Biggest Paddle, Wipeout of the Year, Men's Best Overall Performance of the Year, and Hydro Flask Women's Best Overall Performance of the Year. The WSL's official BWA Nominee page is now live here.

The 19th Annual WSL BWA competition window came to an end on March 20, 2019, and spanned the previous 12 months of the world's greatest big wave surfers taking on the biggest swell in that timeframe. Every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in this period was eligible for consideration across the eight categories. A panel of judges chose the best rides in each of the categories based on photographic and video evidence.

2019 Ride of the Year: Grant Baker at Jaws
0:59
Grant Baker is up for nominations in two categories including the prestigious Ride of the Year and two waves in the Biggest Paddle Award.

The winners will be crowned at a celebration open to the public in Redondo Beach, California, on Thursday, May 2, 2019. For the first time in the awards history, general admission tickets can be purchased to watch from the comfort of beach seating at the BeachLife Festival stage hosting this year's awards. Viewers are also invited to watch a live broadcast of this year's awards at WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL's Facebook page.

This year's nominees include a global population of big wave surfers representing countries as diverse as Germany, Australia, Chile, England, Brazil, the United States, and France. With the Northern Hemisphere triggering massive swells this year, the majority of the nominated rides come from the infamous big wave breaks of Nazaré in Portugal, Pe'ahi (a.k.a. "Jaws") in Maui, Hawaii, USA, and Mavericks, California, USA.

The nominees for 2019, in alphabetical order:

2019 Ride of the Year Nominee: Natxo Gonzalez at Nazaré
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Naxto Gonzalez's Ride of the Year entry will go up against Baker and some of the year's most noteworthy waves.

RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer prizes total $102,000 - Videographer prizes total $12,000

The Ride of the Year is the top-line category of the event and is awarded to the surfer who demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video-footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded. First Place: $65,000; Second Place: $17,000; Third Place: $10,000; Fourth Place: $6,000; Fifth Place: $4,000; First Place Videographer: $5,000; Second Place Videographer: $2,500; Third Place Videographer: $2,000; Fourth Place Videographer: $1,500; Fifth Place Videographer: $1,000

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018.
(Video by Carlo Carbajal)
Natxo Gonzalez (Basque Country, Spain) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 16, 2018.
(Video by Jon Aspuru)
Billy Kemper (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Video by Johnny Decesare)
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Video by Ryan Johnson)
Ramon Navarro (Pichimelu, Chile) at Cloudbreak on May 22, 2018.
(Video by Taylor Curran)

2019 XXL Biggest Wave Nominee: Carlos Burle at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2019. Photo by Aaron Lynton. 2019 XXL Biggest Wave Nominee: Carlos Burle at Jaws WSL / Aaron Lynton

MEN'S XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 - Photographer 1st place prize $5,000

The XXL Biggest Wave Awards goes to the male and female surfers who, by any means available, catch and ride the biggest wave of the year. The winners will receive a $20,000 prize and the photographers of the rides will receive a $5,000 prize.

Carlos Burle (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Photos by Martin Caprile, Dooma Photos and Aaron Lynton. Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Tom Butler (Newquay, United Kingdom) at Nazaré, Portugal, on December 14, 2018.
(Photos by Pedro Cruz, Jorge Leal, Manuel Ricardo and Rafael G. Riancho. Video by Jorge Leal)
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Photos by Erik Aeder, Martin Caprile, Mike Coots, Ryan Craig, Robin Ernst and Aaron Lynton. Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremburg, Germany) at Nazaré, Portugal on February 7, 2019.
(Photos by Pedro Miranda. Video by Pedro Miranda)
Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz, California) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018.
(Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte. Video by Benjamin Ginsberg)

2019 Women's XXL Biggest Wave Nominee: Justine Dupont at Nazaré 1
0:58
Justine Dupont showcased a massive year among the world's elite big wave surfers with multiple performances at Nazare, Portugal.

WOMEN'S XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 - Photographer 1st place prize $5,000

Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) is nominated for two waves at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 9 and November 18, 2018.
(Photos by Mike Jones and Pedro Vilela on November 9)
(Photos by Rafael G. Riancho and Shannon Reporting on November 18)
(Video by Antoine Chicoye on both November 9 and November 18)
Nicole Pacelli (Guarujá, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on January 12, 2019
(Photos by Adam Carbajal and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Marcus Rodrigues)

MEN'S BIGGEST PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer 1st Place prize $20,000 - Photographer 1st place prize $5,000

The Paddle Awards goes to the male and female surfers who paddle into and successfully rides the biggest waves of the year. The winning surfers will receive a $20,000 prize and a $5,000 prize will go to the photographer who captured the ride. This year's nominees showcased fearless displays of big wave surfing with rides at Jaws in Hawaii and Nazaré in Portugal and Mavericks in California.

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018.
(Jaws photos by Adam Carbajal, Dooma Photos, Robin Ernst, Richard Hallman, Aaron Lynton and Kenny Morris)
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018.
(Mavericks photos by Tony Canadas, Elijah Crowell and Benjamin Ginsberg.)
Pedro Calado (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 18, 2018.
(Video by Laurent Pujol)
Nathan Florence (Oahu, Hawaii) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018.
(Photos by Elijah Crowell, Benjamin Ginsberg and Todd Turner. Video by Elijah Crowell)
Billy Kemper (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018.
(Erik Aeder, Matin Caprile, Ryan Craig, Robin Ernst and Aaron Lynton. Video by WSL Team)

WOMEN'S BIGGEST PADDLE WORLD RECORD CONTENDERS
Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 - Photographer 1st place prize $5,000

Paige Alms (Haiku, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 9, 2012.
(Photos by Erik Aeder and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe)
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Photos by Ryan Craig, Dooma Photos and Richard Hallman. Video by Antoine Chicoye.)
Andrea Moller (Ilhabelha, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 16, 2016.
(Photos by Keale Lemos and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe)

2019 Wipeout of the Year: Makua Rothman at Cloudbreak
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The award showcasing the heaviest wipeouts of 2018/19 is one that will have those watching on the edge of their seats and Makua Rothman's is nothing short of gut-wrenching.

WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES
Surfer 1st place prize $3,000 - Videographer 1st place prize $3,000

Russell Bierke (Ulladulla, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 9, 2018.
(Video by Antione Chicoye)
Alex Botelho (Lagos, Portugal) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018.
(Video by WSL Team)
Trevor Carlson (Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 27, 2018.
(Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Lucas Chianca (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.
(Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Makua Rothman (Oahu, Hawaii) at Cloudbreak, Fiji on 22 May, 2018.
(Video by Taylor Curran)

While the performance categories salute the most successful rides of the past year, the Wipeout division presents the most amazing unsuccessful rides for online review. Video of surfing's greatest aquatic mishaps has become a popular viral staple among surfing fans worldwide, often attracting millions of views and taking its place as a good-natured fixture in the Big Wave Awards. Truly epitomizing the courage needed for big wave surfing, the surfers nominated for this accolade show no shortage of heart and commitment. The winner of this award will receive $3,000 and the videographer who captured the wipeout will receive $3,000.

The men and women receiving nominations for the Men's Overall Performance Award and Hydro Flask Women's Best Overall Performance Award are still under review by the nomination panel and will be announced in the coming weeks. The performance awards acknowledge the top surfers over the course of the last 12 months based on every ride captured on video or still images all around the world. These categories are regarded as among the most prestigious and important in the event as it selects who will be seeded into every WSL Big Wave Tour competition for the coming year.

The Big Awards are made possible by Hydro Flask, Barefoot, Redbull, Michelob Ultra, and Beachlife.

Photographs and video of all the nominated rides can be viewed at WorldSurfLeague.com/bigwaveawards/nominess.

To apply for media accreditation to the event please complete the credential form wsl.tv/presspass

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