Bigger isn’t always better, even at the big wave awards. Case in point: the winner of the top prize at the Billabong XXL Awards, Nathan Fletcher.
On Friday, May 4 he took home the gold for Ride of the Year (plus $50,000) for his taming last August of the Tahitian beast known as Teahupoo. It was the sickest ride of the year, serenely pulled off in the most deadly “code red” conditions we’ve seen since our Historic Big Wave Riding at Teahupoo article, but it was far from the biggest wave surfed this past season.
That distinction goes to the 78-foot monster at Nazare, which was improbably toppled in November by big wave specialist Garrett McNamara. Earlier this month, Guinness World Records confirmed that Garrett McNamara set the largest wave record with his Nazare ride. Unsurprisingly, McNamara took home the Biggest Wave award at the XXL Awards, as well as the Verizon Wipeout Award for his near-death experience at Jaws.
All Ride of The Year nominees are showcased in the video above, including powerful runs by Ryan Hipwood at Cloudbreak, Greg Long at Puerto Escondido, and Jeff Rowley at Jaws. For the wipeouts, check out wipeout nominees on the official Billabong XXL site.