Saturday night saw the the world’s best big wave surfers gather in Huntington Beach for the 2017 WSL Big Wave Awards.
With $350,000 to be won across the seven categories the event forms a massive potential pay day for those nominated, in an area of professional surfing that often doesn’t see its practitioners (who risk their life regularly) rewarded with as many sponsorship dollars as their high performance counter parts.
The Big Wave Awards consist of seven categories: Ride of the Year, Biggest Paddle, Biggest Wave, Best Tube, Best Wipeout, Men’s Performance, and Women’s Performance. The overall performance categories were taken out by Jamie Mitchell and Paige Alms. Here are the rest:
Ride Of The Year- Billy Kemper
“This is a dream come true. First and foremost, I have to thank my beautiful fiancé for supporting me and giving me an amazing life with our children. Next, my sponsors, who have given me a platform to perform like this. I was just a kid from Maui, I had nothing at one point. This is all passion. I love to do this and nothing is going to stop me from this. This is for my mom.”- Billy Kemper
Biggest Paddle- Ben Andrews
“I wasnt sure I’d be up here for this. All these waves look about as big as each other to me. Thanks WSL for giving me the nod…I’m proud and really honored. — Ben Andrews
TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award- Francisco Porcella
“It’s been a long time coming to be up here tonight. I’ve been putting in my time but mother nature rewarded me that day. With that wave. It is a blessing to be connected to mother nature and that power, it feeds us. We feel so alive and in the moment.” — Francisco Porcella
Best Tube: Shanan Worrall
“Thanks Jamie Scott who took that photos, that’s probably just lucky, because everyone got good waves that day.” – Shanan Worrall.
Best Wipeout: Wilem Banks
“I had no expectations of being up here. This is the most people I’ve ever spoken in front of, so another fear to get over…I hope I’m never here again.” – Wilem Banks