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Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards Launch New Website And “Ride Of The Year” Format

El Niño Condition Producing Unprecedented Entries From All Over the World

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (November 7, 2006) — Organizers of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy have unveiled an all-new event website brimming with images of El Niño-fueled surf from unprecedented areas around the world, and at the same time announced a number of significant updates to the seventh-annual competition.

With the year-long event period barely half over — and just now about to head into the fall and winter season in the North Pacific and Atlantic — the bar is set at an almost impossibly high level following a run of the biggest waves ever challenged by surfers throughout the Southern Hemisphere. Giant waves in Australia, South Africa and Tahiti have resulted in astonishing XXL entries during what once was the “off-season” for chasing the big ones. Experts believe the growing El Niño weather phenomenon is behind the trend of larger swells across the world’s oceans.

The 2006/07 Billabong XXL Awards will also mark a major milestone with the introduction of a new category in the event. While the XXL Biggest Wave will continue as a key portion of the contest, the top award focus will shift from the “biggest face ridden” to a brand-new category known as the “XXL Ride of the Year” — acknowledging the ever-expanding level of performance in high surf beyond simply descending down the tallest face. The criteria for the new award is as follows:

“The Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Award will be won by the individual surfer who — based on review of available video images by a panel of experts — demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing performance during a single successful ride during the annual event period.”

The winning surfer in the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year category will receive an even $50,000 and the videographer who captures the definitive shot of the top ride will be awarded $5000. The event period continues through the Spring Equinox on March 22, 2007, with the annual gala awards ceremony scheduled to take place in Southern California on April 13, 2007.

The popular Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award (with watercraft tow-ins allowed) will stay a key part of the competition, but its prize will be adjusted from a thousand dollars per foot to an even $15,000 — while the Monster Paddle Award (arm-power only) prize will be raised to exactly match it.

“We felt it was time to update the event to reflect a growing sentiment within the core of the big wave community,” said Graham Stapelberg, Billabong’s Vice President of Marketing. “We firmly believe that high performance is the ultimate measure of good surfing, and that paddling into the biggest wave of the year deserves at least as much support and respect as being towed into one. Everyone associated with the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards believes these adjustments to the event make it a perfect reflection of what is truly going on in the sport today.”

The two tallest-wave awards will still be judged by the small group of measurement experts as in the past, but all other categories will be judged by a growing “academy” of leaders whose opinions will guide the future of big wave surfing. This list will include all the surfers and photographers involved in the event along with surf magazine journalists and others who are deeply involved in the sport — well over 100 in all.

Again this year, surfers must be invited to participate in the XXL Biggest Wave or XXL Ride of the Year competition, and rides at Peahi/Jaws on Maui will not be considered except on a single day set aside for the Peahi Expression Session. The Expression Session will be limited to the 32 best tow surfers in the world to keep order in the lineup. There will be no contest site set-up and no spectators accommodated as the day’s action will be filmed for judging later. Additional details on the Peahi event will be released in the ccoming weeks.

Additional details on the new format, along with photos and videos of all the amazing action to date are available for immediate viewing at the new Flash-enabled event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.

The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy Drinks. Surfline.com is the official surf forecast of the XXL and supporting sponsors include Hawaiian Airlines and Surfing Magazine.

2006/07 BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDSCATEGORY SUMMARY

Billabong XXL Ride of the Year Award
(Greatest big wave performance on a single wave as captured on video and voted by large judging academy)
Surfer Prize: $50,000
4 Runner-up nominees Award: $1500
Videographer Prize: $5000

Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award
(Biggest tow-in wave ridden based on available images showing maximum face height)
Surfer Prize: $15,000
Photo prize: $4000

Monster Paddle Award
(Biggest paddle-in wave ridden based on available images showing maximum face height)
Surfer Prize: $15,000
Photo prize: $4000

Monster Tube Award
(Best big-wave tube based on votes of large judging academy)
Surfer Prize: $5000
Photo Prize: $2000

Surfline Men’s Best Overall Performance Award
(Best year-long big wave performance at a variety of spots as voted by large judging academy)
Surfer Prize: $5000

Billabong Girl’s Best Overall Performance Award
(Best year-long big wave performance at a variety of spots as voted by large judging academy)
Surfer Prize: $5000