ANAHEIM, CA — (April 14, 2006) — Brad Gerlach of San Diego, California was announced as the winner of the 2006 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy for a spectacular 68-foot wave ridden off Todos Santos Island near Ensenada, Mexico.
The former number two rated surfer on the ASP world tour, the 40-year-old Gerlach rode his winning wave on December 21, 2005 as a huge winter storm ruined conditions at big wave spots further to the north. The charismatic veteran received a check for $68,000 — $1000 per foot — for the achievement. Almost 2000 surfing VIPs watched Gerlach receive his honors at the Billabong XXL Awards ceremony live at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. Thousands more watched the webcast on www.BillabongXXL.com, and those who missed it can watch the whole show when it is featured as a Blue Carpet Special on FUEL-TV on June 5 at 9:30 P.M.
“When I caught that wave I didn’t really know how big it was,” said Gerlach. “The swell was still building and it was the last wave of the day, just before it got dark, so I was just hoping to get one more. When I kicked out of the wave everyone just went nuts…you don’t know what’s behind you when you’re on it. I’ve been surfing Todos Santos for a long time, but that was the most amazing day I’ve ever seen.”
Gerlach’s tow partner, Mike Parsons, won the inaugural XXL Award for his 66-foot wave at Cortes Bank back in 2001.
Photographer Robert Brown of San Clemente, CA received a check for $5,000 in honor of his capturing the definitive image of Gerlach’s wave as maneuvered a boat off to the side of the break.
The Monster Paddle Award for the biggest wave caught without the help of a jet ski was won by Diego Medina of Bellavista, Chile for a massive gray wall caught off the Punta Lobos point in Pichilemu, south of Santiago, Chile. Medina received a check for $10,000.
The Monster Tube Award and its $5,000 bounty went to Shane Dorian for his enormous backside barrel at Tahiti’s, Teahupoo on September 11, 2005. As one of the more legendary rides in surfing in recent years, Dorian’s win came as little surprise to most attendees.
The Surfline Best Overall Performance Award was won by Jamie Sterling of Haleiwa, Hawaii. Sterling distinguished himself through inspired performances at the greatest number of different venues around the globe in both paddle and tow-in disciplines, earning the most ballots from the judging committee and the $5000 prize.
The Billabong Girl’s Best Performance Women’s Award was a showdown between Hawaiian Keala Kennelly’s shocking Tahiti tow tube and Californian Jamilah Star’s steady paddle-in efforts at Mavericks, Waimea Bay and elsewhere. Star won the balloting by a single vote, and received the $5000 winner’s check for the second year in a row.
The “Golden Donut” award for the most artistic wipeout of the year went to Garrett McNamara for his brutal crushing in the jaws of a newly discovered “Shark Park” wave off the California coast. McNamara received a new watercraft rescue sled from High Surf Accessories, very useful following mishaps of this sort.
The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy Drinks, Honda watercraft, Surfing Magazine and Hawaiian Airlines