[IMAGE 1] Kelly Slater once again proved to be the most popular surfer in the United States by winning Surfer Magazine’s Reader’s Poll Awards given out last night at the Sun Theater in Anaheim, California during a gala evening that also featured the Fifth Annual Surfer Magazine Video Awards.
Edging out Shane Dorian in second, current ASP points leader Sunny Garcia in third, Rob Machado in fourth, and an absent fifth place Occy, Slater graciously accepted top honors and a specially painted Fender guitar, and said a brief thanks to long-time shaper Al Merrick and clothing sponsor Quiksilver during his acceptance speech.
Grabbing top woman surfer awards was Hawaiian Rochelle Ballard. In addition to Ballard and Slater, Surfer Magazine Editor Sam George named the top five women and top ten men of the year for the packed house of more than 1,000 attendees. [IMAGE 2]Kicking off the evening, Peter King announced the various winners of the Surfer Magazine Video Awards, that included Thicker Than Water as Video of the Year, Bruce Irons winning Best Performance by a Male Surfer, Keala Kennelly taking Best Performance by a Female Surfer, Sick Puppy Award going to Peter Mel, Best Comedy act going to Matt Kechele, and Worst Wipeout awarded to Zack Wormhoudt, among others.
CJ Hobgood took Breakthrough Surfer of the Year honors, while Laird Hamilton was awarded a special award for ten years of breakthrough surfing.