NEWPORT BEACH, CA (April 15, 2003) — With only days remaining until thewinners are announced at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, nomineesfor surfing’s biggest prize have already begun arriving in SouthernCalifornia from as far away as France, Australia and Hawaii.
Five surfers have been named finalists in the annual competition whichacknowledges the biggest waves challenged anywhere in the world over the lastyear. The breaker determined by a panel of experts to have the biggest facewill earn the surfer who rode it a prize of $60,000 — plus an extra $1000for every foot of height over 60 feet.
The 5 nominees for the 2003 Billabong XXL Award are:
• Fred Basse (France) at Belharra Reef, France on March 10, 2003.
• Cheyne Horan (Australia) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2002.
• Noah Johnson (USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2002.
• Sebastian St. Jean (France) at Belharra Reef, France on March 10,2003.
• Makua Rothman (USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2002.
Photos of all finalist rides may be viewed at www.BillabongXXL.com, alongwith a brand-new streaming video clip showing each ride from multiple angles.
With demand for tickets to the invitation-only ceremony greatly exceeding the1500-person capacity of the Grove of Anaheim Theater, a live webcast of theentire evening’s festivities has been arranged. From the red-carpet arrivalsto the video recap of the year’s best rides to the victory speeches to thepost-ceremony press conference, it will all be transmitted to the world in onwww.BillabongXXL.com. The feed begins at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time onApril 18.
According to Graham Stapelberg, Vice President of Marketing for BillabongUSA, the worldwide interest in the Big Wave Awards has been remarkable. “This year we decided to expand the XXL event to a GLOBAL format, and it hasbecome truly that,” said Stapelberg. “We’ve seen huge waves in Hawaii,California, France and Mexico, ridden by surfers from the USA, Australia,Europe and Brazil. It’s given every key area of the surfing world somethingto cheer about.”
In addition to the five surfers up for Billabong XXL Award for the biggestwave caught by any means, the three finalists for the Biggest Paddle-In Wavehave been announced. They are:
• Eraldo Gueiros (Brazil) at Jaws, Maui on January 27, 2003
• Gary Linden (Oceanside, CA) at Todos Santos, Mexico on December 16.2002
• Toby Cunningham (Coronado, CA) at Todos Santos, Mexico on December 16.2002
The winner of the Biggest Paddle-In Wave will be awarded $5000, and thephotographer will receive a custom SPL camera waterhousing.
Additional categories to be awarded include the Best Photo award ($5000) forthe photographer who captures the definitive image of the XXL winning wave,and the Jay Moriarity Best Overall Performance Award ($5000) to the big wavesurfer with the most outstanding rides at the biggest variety of venues overthe course of the year.
The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards are presented by Surfline, the world’spremier surf report and forecasting service.