Finalists Announced In 2005 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards

It’s Jaws vs. Ghost Trees, Waimea vs. Maverick’s in Classic Hawaii/California Showdown

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — (April 2, 2005) — The finalists for the 2005 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy were announced today and the annual event is shaping up as a face-off between surfers at a world renown break off Maui, Hawaii and those at a recently discovered spot off Pebble Beach, California.

The winner will be announced at an invitation-only show before 1500 surf world VIPs on April 22 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. The night’s full schedule of activities will be carried on a free live webcast at www.BillabongXXL.com.

Three of the nominees for the XXL prize for the biggest wave ridden anywhere in the world in the last year were from Peahi (commonly known as Jaws) near Haiku, Maui. Well-known big wave stalwarts Shane Dorian, Garrett McNamara and Dan Moore were towed by jet-powered watercraft into XXL status amid the wild action on two huge and crowded days in December and January.

The other two Billabong XXL contenders were ridden by a pair of respected yet less celebrated surfers at a largely unheard-of break located on the southern flank of the Monterey Peninsula — right off the 18th fairway of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. It was just over three weeks ago that a group of bold pioneers challenged some of the biggest waves ever seen in California in a landmark session at the spot dubbed “Ghost Trees” off Pescadero Point. Carmel local Don Curry and Santa Cruz’s Tyler Smith both streaked across high walls of water deemed well worthy of XXL contention.

A panel of big wave experts will analyze the many photos and video clips of the nominees and determine the largest face size of the year — which will earn a prize of $1000 a foot with a minimum payout of $60,000. Last year Hawaii’s Pete Cabrinha earned $70,000 for his world record 70-foot wave.

Also announced were the nominees for the Monster Paddle Award for the largest wave of the year caught using arm-power alone. Three contenders were tackled during the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Oahu’s Waimea Bay by Shane Dorian and the brother team of Andy and Bruce Irons. The other Monsters were ridden during another competition — the Mavericks Surf Contest — at that notorious Northern California break. Making the cut for the top five was Greg Long of San Clemente, CA and Shane Desmond of Santa Cruz.

“While advances in tow-in surfing have captured much of the attention in the last several years, this season saw a distinct focus on the traditional paddle-in achievements by the sport’s top watermen,” said Graham Stapelberg, Billabong USA’s Vice President of Marketing. “We fully support this as one of surfing’s purest experiences, and to further raise the profile of the category are expanding the number of finalists from three to five. Today we are also announcing a doubling of the Monster Paddle Award prize to $10,000.”

Five nominees for the Monster Tube Award were also released today honoring great rides deep in the curl. Again, three contenders come from the Jaws sessions, including in-and-out moments from Brazilians Danilo Couto and Eraldo Gueiros and Maui lifeguard legend Archie Kalepa. Joining the fray from further afield are hefty barrels by Raimana Van Bastolaer at his home break of Teahupoo, Tahiti, and Australian Dylan Longbottom at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania. The Monster Tube Award carries a prize of $5000.

Billabong XXL event director Bill Sharp expects the surf community to once again engage in spirited debate about all key categories in the three weeks leading up the Billabong XXL Awards presentation.

“Surfers and surfing fans around the world really get into the analysis of each wave,” said Sharp. “You have to look all the photos and video from all the different angles because no one image tells the entire story about a particular ride. Yet you can find yourself going back aand forth and round and round in your opinions of which is biggest…they all look giant.”

The event website at www.BillabongXXL.com features a preview of each of the finalist rides including multiple angles of each captured by many of the world’s best surfing photographers. The lensmen are also up for prizes up to $5000 honoring their ability to nail the definitive moment.

The finalists, in alphabetical order:

Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award Nominees:
Don Curry (Carmel, CA) at Ghost Trees, Pebble Beach, California on March 9, 2005
Shane Dorian (Kona, HI) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 17, 2005
Garrett McNamara (Pupukea, HI) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 15, 2004
Dan Moore (Sunset Beach, HI) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 15, 2004
Tyler Smith (Santa Cruz, CA) at Ghost Trees, Pebble Beach, California on March 9, 2005

Monster Biggest Paddle Wave Award Nominees

Shane Desmond (Santa Cruz, CA) at Maverick’s, California on March 2, 2005 (during the Maverick’s Surf Contest)
Shane Dorian (Kona, HI) at Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii on December 15, 2004 (during the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest)
Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI) at Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii on December 15, 2004 (during the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest)
Bruce Irons (Hanalei, HI) at Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii on December 15, 2004 (during the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest)
Greg Long (San Clemente, CA) at Maverick’s, California on March 2, 2005 (during the Maverick’s Surf Contest)

Monster Tube Award Nominees:

Danilo Couto (Brazil) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 15, 2004
Eraldo Gueiros (Brazil) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 15, 2004
Archie Kalepa (Maui) at Peahi/Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 15, 2004
Dylan Longbottom (Australia) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania, Australia on February 19, 2005
Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on April 22, 2004

Finalists in the new Female division of the Monster Paddle Award will be announced next week.

The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Monster Energy, Honda watercraft and Surfing Magazine. Surfline is the official Surf Forecaster.