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WSL Big Wave Awards Celebrate Groundbreaking Performances, Announce New Women’s World Record

Andrea Moller Sets New GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for Largest Wave Surfed – Paddle (Female)

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Wins Esteemed Ride of the Year and Men’s Paddle of the Year

Justine Dupont Claims Hydro Flask Performance and XXL of the Year

Kai Lenny Takes Out Performance and XXL of the Year Honors

Front page Andrea Moller (BRA) and Justine Dupont (FRA) celebrate their wins at the 19th annual Big Wave Awards. 
Credit: © WSL / Wlodarczyk

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LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Thursday, May 2, 2019) – Tonight, the world’s best big wave surfers were honored at the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards. The event, hosted at the BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach, California, celebrated the big wave standouts of 2018/2019, in addition to awarding two new women’s categories: XXL Biggest Wave and Paddle Awards.

Full Replay: 2019 Big Wave Awards
Andrea Moller Makes History with GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for Biggest Paddle-In Wave
The new women’s category for paddle-in surfing awarded Andrea Moller (BRA) the Paddle Award and new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title with her 42-foot wave at Pe’ahi, Maui, Hawaii. The Brasilian’s Big Wave Tour run fell one spot shy of a Big Wave World Title behind Keala Kennelly (HAW) and will be locked in for another year among the world’s best big wave competitors. Moller’s been nominated for multiple awards in the past, including Ride of the Year, but this marks her first win.
Watch: Andrea Moller Sets New GUINNESS WORLD RECORD
“I was so not expecting this, wow, I remember that day like it was yesterday,” Moller said. “It was one of the biggest days I’ve ever paddled out at. It was just magic. I went out there not expecting it to happen. I just want to thank WSL for the equality, it’s an amazing achievement and they’re inspiring not only surfers but everybody around the world. To see that equality is the way to go.”

Previously, the Paddle Award was an open-gender category, awarded to the biggest paddle-in wave ridden within the season. Now, the Paddle Award will honor the best men’s and women’s paddle-in waves each season. Because this is a new category distinction for women and men, contenders for tonight’s recognition dated back through surfing history. In addition to Moller, the frontrunners featured two-time Big Wave Tour Champion Paige Alms (HAW) and big wave standout Justine Dupont (FRA).

Pictured: Andrea Moller’s record-setting wave at Pe’ahi, Maui, Hawaii.
Credit: Fred Pompermayer
3x BWT Champion Baker Takes Ride of the Year and Paddle of the Year Honors
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (ZAF) is the recently crowned men’s WSL Big Wave Champion after the 2018/2019 season officially closed on March 31, 2019. In addition to celebrating his third BWT Title, Baker won the acclaimed Ride of the Year Award for his awe-inspiring wave at Pe’ahi, Maui, Hawaii as well as Paddle of the Year for a different ride at the same big wave break.
Watch: Grant Baker’s Winning Ride of the Year at Pe’ahi
Justine Dupont and Kai Lenny Win XXL and Overall Performance Awards
A remarkable year for Justine Dupont (FRA) closed with her first-ever Hydro Flask Best Overall Performance of the Year Award and the XXL Biggest Wave Award for her death-defying ride at Nazaré, Portugal last November. The wave measured 53 feet in height and the Seignosse, France, native showed no fear as she raced down the face to conquer the beastly wave.

“This feels like one big dream and I was actually more nervous on stage than I was surfing Nazare (laughs),” Dupont said. “I’m so happy with what I was able to do this winter and can’t thank the people who helped me so much enough for pushing me. Now I’m even more excited for the future because my winter was cut short with injury but I’m back at one-hundred percent and ready. I just want to go way bigger now.”

Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award: Justine Dupont (Video)

Kai Lenny (HAW) also earned both the Best Overall Performance Award and XXL Biggest Wave Award with his revolutionary session at Pe’ahi (also known as Jaws) once the Jaws Challenge was called off for the day and the “Kai Show” began.

“This means the world to me and first of all I’d just like to thank my whole family, my girlfriend Molly for their support and my entire team that allows me to feel confident when I go out on these big days,” Lenny said. “I’d like to congratulate all the performers on an incredible year and this is something I’ve made a goal for myself for a very long time. I’m blown away to just be up here right here. I’d also like to thank all the water safety, it feels like we have guardians out there and to all the photographers, videographers, to help us relive that moment.”

Watch: Welcome to the #KAISHOW
The Wipeout of the Year recognition is one of the night’s most applauded awards and, although the award does not celebrate a successful ride, it highlights the true commitment and bravery of big wave surfing. Makua Rothman’s (HAW) gut-wrenching wipeout at Cloudbreak, Fiji, earned him the Wipeout of the Year.

“This stage wrote me as someone to be reckoned with,” Rothman said. “In 2002 as an 18-year-old boy, I caught the biggest wave ever ridden that year, a 66-foot wave, and it put me on the surfing map forever,” Rothman said. “Without all of the wonderful industry people working so hard, we wouldn’t get to surf beautiful waves. We’re just living the life we always knew. I love you Sunny [Garcia], I love you with all my heart. He is the epitome of a Hawaiian champion.”

Watch: Makua Rothman and the Year’s Worst Wipeout 
2019 WSL Big Wave Award Winners:

RIDE OF THE YEAR WINNER
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.

WOMEN’S PADDLE WORLD RECORD
Andrea Moller (Ilhabela, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 16, 2016.

MEN’S BIGGEST PADDLE WINNER
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.

WOMEN’S XXL BIGGEST WAVE SURFER WINNER
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 18, 2018.

MEN’S XXL BIGGEST WAVE SURFER WINNER
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018.

HYDRO FLASK WOMEN’S PERFORMANCE WINNER
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France)

MEN’S OVERALL PERFORMANCE WINNER
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii)

WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR SURFER WINNER
Makua Rothman (Oahu, Hawaii) at Cloudbreak, Fiji on May 22, 2018.

The Big Wave Awards are proudly supported by Hydro Flask, Barefoot Wines, Red Bull, Michelob Ultra, and BeachLife.

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