Hawaiian surfer Shane Dorian has walked away with one of the sport’s most-prized accolades, the 40 year old winning the Ride of the Year award at the annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards ceremony, held at The Grove theatre in Anaheim, California last night. Dorian received USD$50,000 for the monumental wave he successfully paddled into and surfed at Jaws, Maui, last October. Dorian’s wave also included a gigantic tube ride, which earned him an additional $5,000 and the award for Pacifico Tube.
Dorian’s feat edged out other Billabong XXL Ride of the Year nominees; rides by Californian surfers Shawn Dollar at huge Cortes Bank, CA., Greg Long at Jaws, Maui, and fellow Hawaiians Dave Wassel and Reef McIntosh who both surfed memorable waves during an historic swell at Cloudbreak in Fiji, June 2012. It was a special night that highlighted a breakthrough year for Dorian, he made XXL history by becoming the first surfer in a single year to be nominated in five categories; Ride of the Year, Pacifico Paddle, Pacifico Tube, XXL Biggest Wave and Surfline Men’s Performance.
Reflecting on his career, which included a career high 4th on the ASP Men’s World Tour in 2000: “I had no idea I was going to be having this much fun. I spent a lot of years on tour competing, I loved it, it was great times, but I could have never foreseen having this much fun surfing, this long, great waves – I feel like I am doing the best surfing I have ever done at this point and if someone had told me that was going to happen, I never would have believed them,” said Dorian.
While Dorian’s ride was exceptional, it was not considered the Biggest. Ride of the Year runner-up, Shawn Dollar, scooped that honor to win the XXL Biggest Wave Award as well as the Pacifico Paddle Award for a Cortes Bank behemoth.
Dollar’s history-making wave was estimated by experts to be 61ft in height, a new paddle world record. Cortes Bank is the legendary seamount and mega-wave magnet located 100 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Dollar previously set the world paddle-in record of 57 feet at Maverick’s in Northern California in 2010, only to have Dorian snatch the spot in the record books in 2011 with a 58 footer at Jaws. This is the first time in the event's 13-year history that any waves caught by paddle power have been nominated in the XXL Biggest Wave division, until now that division had been only accessed by surfers using tow-in assists by personal watercraft.
Dollar dedicated his wave to fallen big wave surfer and friend, Sion Milosky, who drowned at Mavericks in March 2011.
“Death and drowning are absolutely prevalent. I’ve seen people die out there with me. It’s the real deal out there. I’ve kissed the ground when I’ve come in,” said Dollar. San Clemente surfer, Greg Long, 29, cemented his reputation as a bona fide living legend when he was awarded the Surfline Men’s Performance Award. Long’s season has included standout performances right round the globe. He distinguished himself during landmark sessions at Jaws, Mavericks, Pico Alto, Mexico, Fiji and Cortes Bank, where nearly lost his life.
Australian Chris Shanahan accepted his award for XXL Wipeout of the Year over the phone, all the way from the Land Down Under.
Shanahan’s attempt to abort one of the ugliest, meanest below-sea-level slabs very nearly brought the house down. The Aussie natural footer mistimed his entry into the wave, tried to pull out and was forced to hit the eject button and ended up freefalling into the abyss without his board, making for a truly memorable and gut-wrenching XXL moment.
The wipeout eclipsed other horrifying entries from Jaws, Nazare-Portugal, Mavericks-California and The Right-West Australia.
The competition window closed on March 20, the start of spring, with every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in the previous 12 months in contention.
RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER:
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($50,000) Video by Elliot Leboe ($5,000)
Second place: Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 ($5,000)
Third place: Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 10, 2012 ($1,500)
Fourth place: Dave Wassel (Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)
Fifth place: Reef McIntosh (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)
PACIFICO PADDLE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (Wave was 61ft, new paddle world record) ($20,000) Photographed by Frank Quirarte ($4,000)
XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (First time a paddle surfer has won this category) ($10,000) Photographed by Rob Keith ($4,000)
PACIFICO TUBE AWARD
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($5,000) Photographed by Fred Pompermayer ($2,000)
SURFLINE MEN'S PERFORMANCE AWARD
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) ($5,000) BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) ($5,000)
XXL WIPEOUT AWARD
Chris Shanahan (Denmark, WA, Australia) at The Right, West Australia ($2,000) Video by Darren McCagh ($1,000)