- WSL / Matt Dunbar

2020 sure has been a wild ride. And while competitive surfing was put on hold throughout much of the year, the waves never stopped. There were some extreme lows, but plenty of highs too as we lived, and surfed, through a global pandemic. Here we track the year by looking at what the key players said.

"I didn't go out there expecting to catch the biggest wave of my life. It felt big, but when you are riding waves out here, you don't look behind you."

-- Kai Lenny, on the ride in Nazare Tow Challenge that won him the men's cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award.

Kai Lenny Breaks Down The 70-Foot Wave That Won The cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award
The men's cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award Winner walks us through the massive righthander that he charged earlier this year at Nazaré.

"It's been the weirdest day, who goes surfing at 10pm at night? But to end what has been a real bummer of a day, I'm going to surf."

-- 7X Formula 1 World Champion Laird Hamilton posts to his Instagram account after a session at Melbourne's URBNSURF.

"I would love to win eight. Eight's a great number. The Olympics would have taken the priority this year, and that's really what I wanted to focus on the most, but yeah, I think I've got plenty of juice in the tank and I'd love to be able to keep evolving."

-- Seven-time World Champ Stephanie Gilmore still fighting to make history.

"Whether in the barrel at Pipeline or in the shallow end of that Pennsylvania pool, Derek Ho personified the spirit of Hawaiian surfing: proud, loyal, a bit reckless at times, but almost always dignified, and true to the essence of why we ride waves."

-- Sam George remembers Derek Ho who passed away in July.

Derek Ho, Pipeline Derek Ho - WSL / Ryan Craig

"I am really looking forward to the challenge and excited to see how the girls step up and perform out there."

-- 4X time World Champion Carissa Moore is looking forward to the women returning to Teahupo'o for the first time in 15 years. It was later announced that Teahupo'o would also be the surfing venue for the 2024 Olympics.

"It turned out just by luck that surf spots were the perfect thing to take photos of from space. When the sun would glint off the swell you could literally see the swell direction coming in at these world-class, famous waves.

-- NASA astronaut and surfer Christina Koch talks surfing and Space.

Christina Koch Christina Koch - NASA

"This World Record really strikes me as quite amazing because the size of the wave was measured taller than the men's size for the winner, so it means a woman rode the biggest wave of the year overall. That to me was something I had dreamed of years ago but not as something realistic."

-- Maya Gabeira after a wave at Nazare was measured at 73.5 feet, besting her own previous World Record, 68 feet.

"Today I'm taking a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. I'll knee for 439 seconds - one second for every First Nation person in Australia who has lost their life in police custody since 1991. I understand that I will never understand. I'm here to listen, learn and use my privilege and opportunity to encourage others to do so as well. Surfing is for everyone."

-- Tyler Wright posts a message before dropping the knee prior to her heat in Tweed Coast Pro.

TWEED HEADS SOUTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Tyler Wright, two-time World Surf League Champion, takes a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter ahead of her heat today at the Tweed Coast Pro event on September 13, 2020 in Tweed Heads South, Australia, Tyler Wright - WSL / Matt Dunbar

"A huge goal of mine as a surfer, especially as a female surfer, is to really push the sport. To be the girl that pushed the progression of women's surfing. I want to be the next generation that is pushing the sport and leading the way, surfing bigger waves, getting barreled more, and doing airs."

-- Caroline Marks talks to Sports Illustrated about surfing's debut in the Olympics, equality, and her life goals.

"He whipped me in, and as I went over the ledge, it felt like a normal 30-footer. Then I kept dropping and dropping for an eternity, and the wave kept growing taller and taller. The thing was it was smooth, green, and buttery. I just had to stand there as it was so perfect."

-- Conor Maguire talks through an XL Big Wave Award contender ridden at Mullaghmore in October.

Conor Maguire at Mullaghmore Head in Ireland Conor Maguire Mullaghmore Head - WSL / Clem Mcinerney / Red Bull Surfing
World Surf League
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