With this year’s big wave season nearing its climax, the number of entries coming into XXL headquarters has shattered all past records in terms of total entries and number of surfers involved, forcing organizers to add a dedicated section to the event website.
Since the addition of the Billabong Girls Best Overall Performance Award in 2004, the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards have showcased the best rides of the year by women right alongside the men. From its inception, the female category has had only two winners: Jamilah Star of Santa Cruz, California, USA, who won the first two years; and Maya Gabeira of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who has won the last three times.
And while that pair of past champions are in the mix once again (including Gabeira at Tahiti’s Teahupoo and Star at Puerto Escondido, Mexico), they are joined by a record number of women pushing the limits of big wave surfing around the world. The entries run the gamut from Layne Beachley’s deep tube at “Ours” in Australia to Savannah Shaugnessey at Mavericks, Mercedes Maidana in Chile and tons of Hawaiian action, including Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller and Paige Alms at Maui’s legendary Jaws (Pe’ahi).
Also impressive is a ride at that break by Kauai’s Bethany Hamilton, the inspirational young surfer who lost an arm to a shark — but clearly proves that taking on a tow rope is well within her remarkable capabilities.
To see more on the women (and add your own comments), see the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards Facebook Fan Page at facebook