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Twiggy Takes Top Honors At Billabong XXL Awards

Twiggy’s $50K ride at Mavs.

The 10th annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards were held Friday night at The Grove Theater in Anaheim. One of surfing’s few red carpet affairs, the event is the climax, the reward (at least monetarily), for the hard work, dedication and courage exhibited by the select field of big wave specialists fortunate enough to earn a nomination in one of the competition’s seven categories.

A crowd of over 2,200 people filled the venue to standing-room-only capacity, watching as winners checks totaling more than $130,000 were awarded to surfers from Germany, California, Tahiti, Hawaii, Tasmania and Brazil. But it was the South African, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, who walked with the most-coveted award of the night. Twiggy’s massive wave at Mavericks not only won him Ride of the Year honors, earning him $50,000 in the process, but was also indicative of the current state of big wave surfing — one that is increasingly favoring the paddle-in side of the paddle vs. tow debate.

With the paddle-in renaissance in full swing, this year, a higher premium — both in this competition and in terms of social cachet — was placed on rides completed without the assistance of a ski. To that end, behind the Ride of the Year award, arguably the most sought after title was the Monster Paddle Award, which went to Californian Shawn Dollar. The Von Zipper sales rep took home $5,000 for his efforts, a record-setting 55-foot Mavericks wave produced by the same swell that generated Twiggy’s winning ride.

Though Hawaiian Shane Dorian fell short in his bid for Ride of the Year, despite having two waves up for consideration in the category, he did win the Best Overall Performance Award, likely, and rather ironically, on the strength of the two waves at Waimea and Mavericks that garnered him the Ride of the Year nominations. 

The night wasn’t without controversy, however. German Sebastian Steudtner, a virtual unknown, won the Biggest Wave Award for a wave he towed into at Jaws. Nothing against Steudtner, but the win, though a shining achievement for the German, only served as affirmation that the real gauge of any big wave surfer is how well he fares in paddle situations. 

Judging by last night’s winners, if there is something that can be taken from the climax of the big wave season, it’s that the paddle versus tow debate isn’t much of a debate anymore.

2010 BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS: RESULTS
BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD

(Surfer prize $50,000  –  Video prize $5,000)

 Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010. (Video by Noel Robinson)

 BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD

(Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

 Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 7, 2009. (Photos by Erik Aeder, Jeff Flindt, Sean Hower, Fred Pompermayer and Batel Shimi.)

MONSTER PADDLE AWARD

(Surfer prize $15,000  –  Photo/video prize $4,000)

 Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 13. 2010. (Photos by Doug Acton, Robert Brown, Todd Glaser, Guerin Myall, Fred Pompermayer, Tyler Fox and Seth Migdail.  Video by Eric Nelson and Noel Robinson.)

MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD

(Surfer prize $5,000  – Still Photography prize $2,000)

Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010. (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Ben Thouard)

VERIZON WIRELESS WIPEOUT AWARD

 Brooke Phillips at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on October 19, 2009

 SURFLINE BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD

(Surfer prize $5,000 prize)

Shane Dorian, Kona, Hawaii 

BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD

(Surfer prize $5,000)

 Maya Gabreira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 Courtesy FUEL TV

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