Ride The World Surf Travel & Adventure

Who deserves surfing’s XXL Ride of the Year?

The race for the prestigious big-wave honor is as solid as ever

The most prestigious big-wave surfing competition on earth isn’t like other gatherings. Instead of choosing a single day to throw would-be competitors in the water, the Billabong XXL Awards are part of a year-long competition designed specifically for heavy-water hunters. To win one of the premier awards handed out every spring, entrants must provide solid proof of themselves charging a massive wall of water. As you’ll see in the video below, the field of nominees for this year’s Ride of the Year category is as stacked as ever.

The big surprise came from Tavarua, Fiji, a renowned idyllic paradise known for its perfect surf, not massive surf. But that all changed last spring when Fiji was pounded by some of the largest waves locals had ever seen. The timing couldn’t have been better, as many of the world’s best surfers were on the island competing in the Volcom Pro.

As the swell grew and got out of control, the world’s best “competitors” were removed from danger, and took a back seat to a bevy of big-wave hunters who’d flown in to bag their elephants. When the mist cleared, and the film was reviewed, Hawaiians Reef Mcintosh and Dave Wassel appeared to have stolen the show.

Remarkably, their Tavarua rides are holding up quite well versus waves caught at more renowned big-wave breaks like Jaws, on Maui, and Cortes Bank, an underwater island that prompts massive waves to break 100 miles off the coast of Southern California.

Which is your favorite? Let us know.

Hawaiian Shane Dorian is a perennial XXL contender, and this year is no different thanks to his performances at Jaws, on Maui. Photo: Richard Hallman

Hawaiian Shane Dorian is a perennial XXL contender, and this year is no different thanks to his performances at Jaws, on Maui. Photo by Richard Hallman

Shawn Dollar paddled into this monster at Cortes Bank, which breaks 100 miles off the coast of Southern California. It's one of the most feared nautical hazards in the world. Photo: Frank Quirarte

Shawn Dollar paddled into this monster at Cortes Bank, which breaks 100 miles off the coast of Southern California. It’s one of the most feared nautical hazards in the world. Photo by Frank Quirarte

Danny Fuller was one of the big-wave hunters who chased the massive swell to Fiji last year. This wave was reward enough for him. Photo: PhotoBrent

Danny Fuller was one of the big-wave hunters who chased the massive swell to Fiji last year. This wave was reward enough for him. Photo by PhotoBrent