Big Wave Awards 2017
The world’s best big wave surfers gathered in Huntington Beach tonight for the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards.
The gala ceremony at the Pasea Hotel and Spa awarded the greatest rides of the past year and celebrated the tenets of the big wave community.
This year’s event saw $350,000 in prize money allotted across the seven categories. Ranging from the greatest tubes to the biggest wipeouts, the seven committed and daring winners were given top honors and a TAG Heuer watch to close out another incredible big wave season.
Jamie Mitchell claimed the Surfline Men’s Overall Performance Award this evening after showcasing incredible feats throughout the season, including his historic win at the inaugural Big Wave Tour (BWT) Nazaré Challenge. Mitchell’s win tonight is his second at the Big Wave Awards and further establishes his place in the history books.
Mitchell was also nominated for the Billabong Ride of the Year, but it was Billy Kemper who earned the big win. It is no surprise that the Maui local secured this year’s title on a gigantic wave at Jaws as this break saw him earn back-to-back BWT Pe’ahi Challenge events. 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, but Kemper finally earned the headlining award with his incredible barrel at Jaws on November 11, 2016.
Paige Alms earned the Women’s Best Performance Award after six-straight nominations for the award 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 tonight 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 tonight 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.
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.
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
2016/2017 WSL Men’s BWT Champion: Grant Baker
2016/2017 WSL Big Wave Women’s Champion: Paige Alms
For more information log onto WorldSurfLeague.com.
Source: Press release WSL