Craziest Big-Wave Surfing Wipeouts of the Year

Each year, the world’s elite big-wave surfers set out to catch one amazing wave for a shot at Billabong’s Ride of the Year Award and a $50,000 prize. What the surfers nominated for the 2012 Verizon Wipeout Award ended up with were less graceful, equally spectacular dismounts in some of this year’s most life-threatening surf.

It’s rare that “almost” counts as a notable achievement in the sporting world. But when “almost” takes place in some of the biggest waves of the year, the harrowing wipeouts that result are worth noting.

The surfer awarded for the best wipeout is given $2,000 for the botched ride, which is little consolation for being treated like a sock in a washing machine. Fortunately, each of the nominated surfers survived while also capturing some amazing footage of his harrowing wipeout.

Determining what makes an award-winning wipeout isn’t easy. A judging panel of surfers, photographers, writers, and magazine editors vote on a winner, who will be announced May 4 at Billabong’s Global Big Wave Awards in Anaheim, California.

Here are the nominees for the 2012 Verizon Wipeout Award (in order of appearance):

Felipe Cesarano (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Teahupoo, Tahiti
Danny Griffith (Dodges Ferry, Tasmania) at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania
Rodrigo Koxa (Guaruja, SP, Brazil) at Teahupoo, Tahiti
Mark Mathews (Maroubra, NSW, Australia) at The Right, Western Australia
Garret McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii


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