There are a lot of gigantic waves entered in the Biggest Tow category of this year's Red Bull Big Wave Awards, but when you've got not one, not two, but three entries under consideration, it's hard not to be considered a favorite.
That's the enviable position Kai Lenny and Justine Dupont find themselves in after a major season of pushing the boundaries charging some of the biggest waves on Earth. They're both strong contenders for Performers Of The Year after splitting time between Nazare in Portugal and Jaws in Hawaii during the last big-wave season.
The number of entries doesn't guarantee a win, but if you review the footage from what Lenny and Dupont have submitted, it's clear they're two of the standout athletes this year. And statistically speaking, it can't hurt to have more entries for the judging panel to critique.
So, what made their season so special? It's a combination of factors. Being there is half the battle when it comes to big waves. With a perfect storm of variables needing to come together to produce quality, ridable mountains of water. Lenny and Dupont have both wholly dedicated themselves to the chase, and even with international travel being a nightmare over the last year-plus, they've been able to be in the right place at the right time.
Then there's the shear commitment both of these athletes have shown. There is an easily perceptible desire from both to push the boundaries. They are constantly raising the bar and trying to go harder than the previous season. From Lenny's creativity and boundless energy -- think giant air rotations on 60-footers -- to Dupont's bravado and courage to pull into some serious cartoonish looking barrels.
Dupont really put the miles in over the last year as her three nominations come from three different surf spots: Nazare, Jaws and Mavericks. The amount of work it takes to put oneself in the right place at the right time to accomplish something like that is a testament to her passion and dedication to the big-wave pursuit.
Meanwhile, all three of Lenny's nominees come from Jaws. One of the true specialists at the Hawaiian reef, what he's doing out there today, especially on his tow board in mind blowing. He approaches the wave, even on it's most fearsome of days, like it's a four-foot day at Lowers. He did venture to Nazare and Mavericks as well, but he shines brightest at home at Jaws.
Of course, it's not a given they'll take top honors. Maya Gabeira and Sebastian Steudtner each have two entries each, so they're not far behind. After that, Lenny and Dupont are up against a tough field and the judges are going to have their work cut out for them.
But the ability to complete three top-quality entries deserves some recognition in its own right. The 2021 Red Bull Big Wave Awards show airs on Friday, October 29, at 3:00pm PST on WorldSurfLeague.com, so stay tuned to find out if these three-peat chargers take out the Biggest Tow category.
You can check out all three of Lenny and Dupont's entries here, as well as all the other amazing waves ridden during the competition window.