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The Underworld's biggest sessions get noticed


Tyler Hollmer-Cross, Shipstern Bluff © Andrew Chrisholm

Surfing Life's Oakley Big Wave AwardsUnderground hell-men join veterans in the running for Surfing Life's Oakley Big Wave Awards
Surf News
, 1 February- Australia’s most prestigious huge-surf challenge is once again up for grabs, along with $35,000 in prizemoney, as the finalists have been announced in Surfing Life’s Oakley Big Wave Awards. Huge, crazy rides have been thrown into the mix from renowned big-wave chargers like current Biggest Wave champ Mark Mathews, former Awardee Marti Paradisis, and Queensland legends Jamie Mitchell and Ryan Hipwood.

 

But these well-known watermen are facing stiff opposition from underground hell-men like Chris Shanahan, Ben Rufus, perennial West Australian Damien Warr, and a man who goes solely by the name of Camel!

Jamie Mitchell, 10 time conqueror of the Oahu-Molokai paddleboard race and one of the world’s top mega-surf hunters, secured his monster Paddle-In entry at the infamous Cow Bombie, usually only tackled with jetski assistance, ‘Usually the left-hander out there is the only paddleable wave, but that day I through caution to the wind and paddled into one of the rights and after that it all just came together. My big wave, the one that has made the finals, felt exponentially bigger than my other waves that day. It was such a perfect day, everyone was going for it!’

This year’s finalists have been decided through a world-first surfer poll in which every surfer who’s ever registered for an Award entry was asked to vote for the top few rides in each of the three divisions: Biggest Wave, Biggest Slab, and Biggest Paddle-in Ride.

“We felt the surfers themselves were the best judges of each other’s performances,” explained event co-ordinator Nick Carroll. “They know these wild surf zones better than anyone else and they have a clear view of the challenge involved. We were stoked with the way they responded! They’ve come up with an epic group of finalists, that’s for sure.”

Biggest Wave, Biggest Slab, and Biggest Paddle-In rides are now in the hands of the finalist judges – an elite international panel of big wave maestros – and they’ll be stretched to pick the winners out of an unprecedented range of entries.

A number of impressive sessions in a year of consistent swell has seen a colossal total of 80 entries, far above and beyond any of the year’s previous, which have now been whittled down to 13 entries between 12 surfers across the 3 categories.

The Awards, now in their 10th year, have come to highlight a side of surfing that’s way beyond both the recreational mainstream and the professional competitive arena – a zone where seemingly normal people take seemingly outlandish risks, with seemingly little concern for fame or renown.

Surfing Life’s Oakley Big Wave Awards will be presented at a super, spectacular, celebrity-studded evening at Simmer on the Bay, Dawes Point, Sydney on February 8th, 2012. All finalists can be viewed at bigwaveawards.com.au and high resolution video and still footage of the final entries can be downloaded via FTP, in the folder titled Big Wave Awards Finalists, at the following location:

FINALISTS

BIGGEST WAVE

Damien Warr, The Right Video: Rick Jakovich
Marti Paradisis, Shipstern Bluff Images: Andrew Chisholm Images: Tim Bonython
Tyler Hollmer-Cross, Shipstern Bluff Video: Jamin McLean Video: Tim Bonython
Jeff Rowley, Southern Victoria Video: Minnie Vuong
Mark Mathews, The Right Images: Tim Bonython
Cale Grigson, The Right Video: Ben Rufus

BIGGEST SLAB
Tyler Hollmer-Cross, Shipstern Bluff Video: Jamin McLean Video: Tim Bonython
Mark Mathews , The Right Images: Tim Bonython
Marti Paradisis, Shipstern Bluff Images: Tim Bonython
Cale Grigson, The Right Video: Ben Rufus
Ben Rufus, The Right Video: Leith Holtzman Images: Tony Warrilow
Chris Shanahan, The Right Images: Mike Riley
Ryan Hipwood, The Right Images: Shannon Stent

BIGGEST PADDLE-IN
Jamie Mitchell, Cow Bombie Video: Rick Jakovich
Paul Morgan, Cow Bombie Video: Rick Jakovich
Camel, Cow Bombie Video: Rick Jakovich

www.bigwaveawards.com.au

 

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