IRVINE, CA — (April 2, 2004) — The finalists for the 2004 Global Big Wave Awards, which are presented by Monster Energy Drink, were announced today, and the emphasis was clearly on the Global. Surfers from the USA, Brazil, Australia and French Polynesia received nominations for waves they rode in South Africa, Tasmania, Tahiti, California and Maui, Hawaii — each one a spectacular example of the amazing progression of big wave surfing in recent years.
Of the five nominated surfers for the coveted Billabong XXL Award for the biggest wave of the year, four challenged their contenders on January 10 of this year at the break on the north coast of Maui known as Jaws. The finalist surfers represent a vivid cross-section of the sport’s elite: Pete Cabrinha, 42, one of the pioneers of the Jaws/Peahi break who first challenged its winter fury as a champion windsurfer over a decade ago; Danilo Couto, 29, a well-traveled Brazilian-born surfer now living on Oahu; Archie Kalepa, 40, a Maui lifeguard Captain regarded as one of the world’s finest high-surf rescue specialists; and Ian Walsh, a 20-year-old pro surfer from nearby Paia, Maui, who has virtually grown up watching Jaws, and distinguished himself in glorious fashion on his first attempt to surf the break at maximum size.
Also joining the ranks of XXL nominees is another relative youngster, Greg Long, 20, of San Clemente, California. Long tracked down his huge cold-water peak in December at the notorious Cortes Bank reef — located in the Pacific high seas 105 miles west of San Diego. The spectacular ride can be seen on the cover of the current issue of Surfer Magazine. Photographs of all the nominated rides can be viewed at the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.
The XXL finalists represent the cream of over 130 different entries into the annual competition. A panel of experts will analyze the photographic evidence and the winner will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on the evening of April 16, 2004 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. While the audience will be limited to an invitation-only crowd of 1200 of the surf world’s elite, big wave fans around the world can participate in the live webcast on BillabongXXL.com and Surfline.com.
The Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award carries a prize of $1000 per foot with a minimum of $60,000. Last year the top prize of $66,000 went to Hawaii’s Makua Rothman for his 66-footer at Jaws. The photographer who captures the definitive image of the winning ride will receive $5000 for his efforts.
Also announced today were the finalists for the Monster Paddle-In Award, which provides $5000 to the surfer who catches and successfully rides the biggest breaker using only arm-power. California’s Greg Long became the first surfer to ever be nominated in two categories thanks to one of the “bombs” he rode during the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event in June at the Dungeons break in South Africa. Maverick’s — the famed cold-water break off Half Moon Bay, CA — was the venue for the other two paddle-in nominees, one by Santa Cruz’s Zach Wormhoudt and the other by Alex Martins, a Brazilian national now living in San Francisco.
This also marks the first nominees in the new Monster Tube of the Year Award category. The three most astonishing tuberides were deemed to have been produced by Andy Campbell at Shipstern Bluff near his home in Tasmania, Australia, and by Florida’s Cory Lopez and Tahitian Malik Joyeaux during the course of what is widely regarded as the biggest day ever faced at the death-defying break of Teahupo’o in Tahiti, French Polynesia. The winner of the Monster Best Tube Award will receive a check for $5000.
Another $5000 will be presented on the evening of April 16 in the form of the Surfline.com/Jay Moriarity Best Overall Performance Award. Each year that award goes to the surfer who consistently put on the best performances at the largest number of different venues over the course of the entire year. The candidates are not announced in advance but this year the short list includes a number of surfers who just missed selection in other categories.
Pete Cabrinha (USA) at Jaws, Maui on January 10, 2004 (2 rides). Photos by: Erik Aeder, Tracy Kraft, Rick Leeks, Cindy Levy, Charles Oreve.
Danilo Couto (Brazil) at Jaws, Maui on January 10, 2004. Photos by: Erik Aeder, Tony Harrington, Rick Leeks.
Archie Kalepa (Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui on January 10, 2004. Photos by: Erik Aeder, Charles Oreve
Greg Long (California, USA) at Cortes Bank of California on December 18, 2003. Photo by: Rob Brown.
Ian Walsh (Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui on January 10, 2004. Photos by: Tony Harrington, Tracy Kraft, Rick Leeks.
Andy Campbell (Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania on March 13, 2004. Photo by: Andrew Chisholm.
Malik Joyeaux (Tahiti) at Teahupo’o, Tahiti on April 29, 2003. Photo by: Sean Davey.
Cory Lopez (Florida, USA) at Teahupo’o, Tahiti on April 29, 2003. Photo by: Sean Davey.
Greg Long (California, USA) at Dungeons, South Africa on June 23, 2003. Photo by: Grant Ellis.
Alex Martins (Brazil) at Maverick’s, California on January 18, 2004. Photos by: Frank Quirarte, Steve Wasylko.
Zach Wormhoudt (California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on December 17, 2003. Photo by: Frank Quirarte.
For additional information, including photos and video of the nominated rides and precise rules and judging criteria, please visit other areas of the www.BillabongXXL.com website.
Members of the media seeking photographs or other information about the Billabong XXL event or the awards presentation, may contact
Bill Sharp, Contest Director,