It’s that time of the year when pro surfing’s most discerning judges look back at the most breathtaking big wave rides of the past 365 days to crown just one glorious moment: the Billabong XXL “Ride of the Year.”
This year, like any year, the judges have a tough choice to make, with five epic rides singled out as the Billabong XXL nominees. The winner, crowned May 3rd during a live broadcast at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, will walk away with a $50,000 prize.
Among the big wave surfers nominated are trips by Shane Dorian and Greg Long on a pair of crushing Jaws tubes that took place on consecutive days last October. They are joined by a pair of rides by Reef McIntosh and Dave Wassel at Cloudbreak, Fiji last June, and a monster heave-ho by Shawn Dollar at Cortes Bank, California in December.
Good luck picking a favorite. Each of the big wave surfers is more triumphant than the next: from Dollar’s tentative taming of a beast – he appears to ride a single wave twice – to Dorian’s perfect slide into a crushing Hawaiian curl. The other three rides on the Billabong XXL list are no less magnificent, and we recommend you watch them for yourselves whether you’ve ever stood on a board or not.
Absent from the nominees, however, is one remarkable ride at Nazare, Portugal by big wave surfer Garrett McNamara, who pulled his name from contention due to sponsorship concerns. Check out our coverage to see his largest wave record run, which unfortunately won’t be a part of the contest.
The Billabong XXL “Ride of the Year” is just one of seven categories to be decided at the awards show, which will take place at the Grove Theater in Anaheim California. See all the categories, including the “XXL Wipeout Award” and “Biggest Wave,” and watch the live webcast May 3 at the Billabong XXL official site.