Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards – One Month Remains in Record Setting Year

Record Entries for Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards Despite Slow North Pacific Winter;
Potential Finalists from Around the World Can Be Viewed Now at BillabongXXL.com

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (February 21, 2007) — With only one month remaining in the annual competition window for the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, it is hard to deny the normally-fertile North Pacific Ocean is lagging far behind the aggressive output from the rest of the world’s seas.

The total lock the Northern Hemisphere has had on nominees over the seven-year history of surfing’s preeminent big wave event will likely be shattered in the absence of a late season rally. Winners of the Billabong XXL Award for the biggest wave of the year have in the past all come from either Hawaii (at famed breaks like Maui’s Jaws) or from the West Coast of North America (at Maverick’s, Todos Santos or Cortes Bank). But an unusual weather pattern has blocked the biggest storms this winter — turning center stage over to a new group of breaks and surfers in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.

Although finalists in the XXL Biggest Wave division will not be announced until the event period closes on the Spring Equinox on March 21, the general consensus is that the largest faces ridden over the last 11 months were likely seen during epic tow-in sessions in South Africa and Western Australia last July, with only a handful of potential candidates from other locales including Tahiti, Spain and Ireland (along with a few rides at California’s Maverick’s and Ghost Tree also in the mix). And despite the abnormal number of major swell events lashing Hawaii or California, the XXL event is experiencing a record-breaking number of potential contenders filling the website with an unprecedented depth of content. Well over 200 entry images have been submitted to date.

“Stubborn high pressure in the North Pacific has blocked the storm track and jet stream further north, explains Sean Collins of Surfline.com, the official surf forecast of the XXL. “That has resulted in smaller waves, and very little rain with milder weather for California. We haven’t had a serious chance to chase any huge swells in our backyard this year. The Eddie is still on hold, as is the Mavericks event. Both paddle-in events may not go this year.”

Spanning the best moments of the entire winter, the Monster Paddle and Monster Tube categories do contain their share of worthy candidates from California and Hawaii, with a lot of “buzz” surrounding rides at traditional venues like Maverick’s and Pipeline. But they are vying for attention against action from a United Nations of lesser-known breaks like Playa Gris in Spain, Chile’s El Buey and Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

The brand-new Ride of the Year category is emerging as much more complex race, as exactly what constitutes the most amazing performance is open to a more subjective interpretation by the judging “academy.” Numerous rides on video from around the world have been posted on the XXL Ride of the Year website and many more will be up for evaluation in the waning weeks of the event. How do huge tow-in tubes in Africa, Mexico and Tahiti stack up against the total commitment of a massive Maverick’s paddle-in late drop? This spiritual question and more will be debated intensely over the next month, and on until the winners are announced at the gala Billabong XXL Awards ceremony on April 13, 2007 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. Cash prizes totaling $116,000 are at stake.

Video clips and still photos of this year’s entries in all the categories listed below can be seen on the 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 Verizon is the official wireless communications outfitter. Supporting sponsors include Hawaiian Airlines and Surrfing Magazine.

BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS 2007 EVENT CATEGORIES:
(All amounts are in US Dollars)

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 still photos showing maximum the face height)
Surfer Prize: $15,000
Photo prize: $4000

Monster Paddle Award
(Biggest paddle-in wave ridden based on still photos showing maximum the 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