Last month the WSL announced their final short list for their 2017 Big Wave Awards and next weekend the winners will finally be crowned.
We’ve already shown you the terrifying entries for the wipeout award nominees, and now it’s time to review those in the running who managed to stay on their feet and earned themselves nominations for perhaps the most coveted category; The Billabong Ride Of The Year.
First up is this Mavericks screamer from 40 year-old charger Ben Andrews, who is a consistent stand out at the Californian big wave Mecca. So much so, in fact that he’s already secured himself two Big Wave Award nominations at Mavericks, one in 2006 for a crazy paddle in and one last year in the Ride Of The Year category.
Next up is a paddle-in bomb at Nazare, masterfully executed by 22 year-old Brazilian Lucas ‘Chumbinho’ Chianca, who has burst on to the international big wave scene in the last few years. As well as towing in on the big days at the Portuguese behemoth with partner Pedro Scooby, Lucas relishes those slightly smaller, less windy sessions to paddle in and hunt for cover-ups, as we see him doing here.
The next clip features Hawaiian hell man Billy Kemper finding a giant keg at Jaws. Kemper’s prowess at his local break is unrivalled, as his back to back wins there in 2015 and 16 attest. This ride occurred during the comp in 2016 and as well as landing Kemper a ride of the year nomination, also scored him a ten point ride.
The penultimate entry also occurred during one of the BWT comps, this time at Puerto Escondido in Mexico. It stars Australian Jamie Mitchell, who’s been on a real tear this year in the big wave world, grabbing himself a load of nominations, including one for performance of the year. As well as this official recognition, Jamie was also thrown some recent kudos from Kelly Slater, who called him one of the most underrated athletes ever, due to his extraordinary dominance in long distance paddle board racing.
The final entry features Italian born 30 year-old Francisco Porcella, on what is one of the biggest, best ridden tow waves ever seen out at Nazare. Porcella flew in especially for the swell from Hawaii, which came in a little stormier and more choppy than expected, however he managed to capitalise, adding this to his already three strong list of shortlisted nominations for the big wave awards.
Let us know in the comments who gets your vote and tune in to Bigwaveawards.com next weekend when the winners from each category will be announced.
Cover photo: WSL // Christa Funk