| Get surf report

Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Sun, 30 April 2017

Moments of monstrous madness were relived early today as the best big wave surfers gathered in Huntington Beach for the 2017 World Surf League Big Wave Awards.

5C PAD17NOM_JMitchellNazDec20Soares

FEARFUL FEET: Jamie Mitchell won the inaugural Nazare event in giant surf. Photo Soares

A gala ceremony at the Pasea Hotel and Spa awarded $350,000 (about R4.7 million) in prize money across seven categories early today ZA time. Jamie Mitchell claimed the Surfline Men’s Overall Performance Award after incredible feats throughout the season, including an historic win at the inaugural Big Wave Tour (BWT) Nazaré Challenge. Mitchell’s win is his second at the Big Wave Awards.

He was nominated for the Billabong Ride of the Year, but it was Billy Kemper who got the big win. It is no surprise that the Maui local secured this year’s title on a gigantic wave at Jaws - he earned back-to-back BWT Pe’ahi Challenge wins. Kemper previously had a 2010 Ride of the Year nomination, a 2013 Wipeout of the Year nomination and a 2014 Ride of the Year nomination, and finally earned the headline award with his incredible barrel at Jaws on November 11, 2016.

3A XXL17NOM_FPorcellaFeb28Aleixo

THAT'S A WAVE: Francisco Porcella drops down an enormous Nazare nugget. Photo Alexio

Paige Alms earned the Women’s Best Performance Award after six-straight nominations starting in 2012. Alms started charging big waves at the age of 15. Not unlike most female big wave surfers, Alms’ career has been self-supported through juggling multiple jobs to fund her travel and training.

Her commitment, hard work and passion paid off

Her commitment, hard work and passion paid off with her second win at the Big Wave Awards. In addition, Alms was also celebrated for her win at the Pe’ahi Challenge to become the first ever Big Wave Women’s Champion.

The TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award goes to the surfer who, by any means available, catches and rides the biggest wave of the year. Francisco Porcella has made a name for himself in the big wave community over the past few years, but earned the incredible feat of the TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award for his ride at Nazaré, Portugal, his first-ever Big Wave Award victory.

Other big winners of the night included Ben Andrews, who secured the Best Paddle Award for his ride at Maverick’s, California, and Shanan Worrall, who earned the Tube of the Year Award after charging through a massive barrel at The Right in Western Australia.

5A TUBE17NOM_SWorrallRightMay16TubeScott

BLUE CATHEDRAL: Shanan Worrel ridiculously deep at the Right in Oz. Photo Scott

18-year-old Wilem Banks took home one of the night’s most anticipated awards for the TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year. The Santa Cruz native’s bone-wrenching fall at Maverick’s was more than enough carnage to earn the title for the young charger. It was a wave Banks knew was bound for disaster after the offshore wind took its hold and the free-fall within the wave’s lip began.

To view the award winning rides from the 2017 WSL Big Wave Awards, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com/BigWave . The WSL Big Wave Tour commences its 2017 season on Monday, May 1, 2017. For more information log onto www.WorldSurfLeague.com

2B XXL17NOM_KLennyJawsNov8Pomper

LITTLE INSECTS: Kai Lenny was nominated for this one and he didn't win. Photo Pompermeyer

NOMINATIONS: The top Paddle, Tube and XXL entries row by row. Photos WSL

2017 WSL Big Wave Award Winners

Billabong Ride of the Year: Billy Kemper / Videographer: Etienne Aurelius
Paddle Award: Ben Andrews / Photographer: Fred Pompermayer
TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award: Francisco Porcella / Photographer: Bruno Aleixo
Tube of the Year Award: Shanan Worrall / Photographer: Jamie Scott
TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Award: Wilem Banks / Videographer: Curt Myers
Surfline Men’s Overall Performance Award: Jamie Mitchell / Women’s Best Overall Performance Award: Paige Alms

WSL Men’s BWT Champion: Grant Baker
WSL Big Wave Women’s Champion: Paige Alms

Add comment

Please don't say anything you would not say to a real person, and please use your real name.

Security code

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Wavescape on Twitter

Tue Jun 19 13:30:28 +0000 2018

Desmond And The Tutus, Shadowclub, aKing and other big acts are going to be rocking the JBay Winterfest during the… https://t.co/ZFEdXg77fz
Tue Jun 19 10:45:22 +0000 2018

History will be made in Port Elizabeth this weekend with the news that the women's event has been upped to a QS3,00… https://t.co/EAiSW3WcPf
Tue Jun 19 08:53:39 +0000 2018

Former world bodyboarding champ Andre Botha dodges a bullet in firing Namibia a few days ago, with the other guy a… https://t.co/FCE6EufHNk
Mon Jun 18 13:18:34 +0000 2018

The Cape of Storms lived up to her tumultous title when she offered every element of winter at the Jordy Smith even… https://t.co/Q2vbU3mDQS
Mon Jun 18 12:45:32 +0000 2018

Australian surfer Jordan Lawler says South Africans are so nice, they helped him win the men's division of the Jord… https://t.co/OJflMFNRLq
Thu Jun 14 12:01:10 +0000 2018

Check out this barrelfest edit from last winter by @rich1mages as we approach the dead of winter 2018.… https://t.co/UGxA1ZUTPN
Follow Wavescape on Twitter

Wavescape friends and partners Isiqalo Foundation DIFF CSIR Isiqalo Foundation Surfing  South Africa Save Our Seas Shark Centre Isiqalo Foundation Red Bull Media House DIFF National Sea Rescue Institute Shark Spotters ASP Africa