The 2011 TransWorld SURF Awards
The best and worst of a weird and wild year...
Hollywood has the Academy Awards with its phallic golden little statue, the tone deaf have the American Music Awards, and now the surf world has the TransWorld SURF Awards! There are no trophies, no speeches, no voting, and no prizes--just our picks for the best and worst people, places, events, and happenings in our little world of surf. Welcome to the first annual TransWorld SURF Awards, please hold your applause 'til the end of the show...
The 2011 TransWorld SURFer Of The Year: John John Florence
John John's year was spectacular. From multiple magazine covers and features to f--king amazing video performances in Lost Atlas, Get'n Classic, Surprise Excitement Party!, as well as an endless flow of web-clip gold. John John absolutely killed the freesurf scene on page and screen, but that wasn't enough for a guy so good they had to name him twice--he went ahead and qualified for the World Tour and won the Vans Triple Crown. Oh yeah, he did most of this after breaking his back early in the year.
John John's skate-style surfing has always been a fan favorite, but in the last few years, JJ has gotten stronger, bigger, and added explosiveness to his surfing that is without rival. He's got pop. He has a style suited as much for a skatepark as for a wave, and shit, he's Dane Reynolds' favorite surfer! The scary part is that John John is still a teenager, so it's pretty amazing to think that we've all watched him grow up and become the surfer he is today, and we'll keep watching 'cause JJ is only getting better.
Loss Of The Year: Sion Milosky
During one of the last big swells of the season this past March, renowned big-wave rider Sion Milosky from Kauai drown at Mavericks after getting caught up by a mountain of whitewash. Sion was a role model to all and loved his family more than anything. Since his passing, a saying, "Live Like Sion" has been instituted worldwide and his name will live on in the form of the "Steep And Deep Challenge" that will reward the surfer who best emulates Sion's fearless approach to big Pipeline and Backdoor this Winter. While he is missed daily, Sion's spirit lives on in all of us. Rest in peace, brother.
Event Of The Year: The Billabong Pro Tahiti
This was an easy choice. With a halftime show that featured the session of the century and a battle royale throughout the whole event, the Billabong Tahiti Pro was the contest that kept us all hanging on to the webcast for dear life.
Surf Flick Of The Year: Year Zero
This wasn't an easy choice. Lost Atlas had the best surfing, our movie (Surprise Excitement Party!) had the best bikini food fight, but Globe's Year Zero had a look and feel like no surf film we've ever seen. Shot entirely on film, and featuring an original soundtrack by Black Mountain, it transcended surf porn and crossed over in to the world of modern art.
Air Of The Year: Kelly Slater's 540 at the Quiksilver Pro New York
Please don't call it a "full rotation"--what Kelly Slater did in his semifinal heat against Taj Burrow was a straight-up 540 from hell. There were so many amazing airs on tour this year--including bangers by Josh Kerr, Dane Reynolds, and a few others--but Kelly's punt in New York was the jam. He's nearly 40 years old and still at the spear tip of radness. Nice work, champ. Oh, and we forgive you for the double claim after you landed the air.
Photo Of The Year: Bruce Irons by Jason Kenworthy
Jason Kenworthy had been shooting night shots for weeks on a Nike shoot prior to landing a spot on the Red Bull Minor Threat trip. In his words, he was "over it" when Stab's Sam McIntosh attached a road flare to the tail of Bruce Irons board while surfing head-high Lance's Right. Well, the practice paid off for Kenworthy who perfectly captured Bruce in a fiery tube, creating a photo that landed on our October cover and quickly found its place on multiple international magazine covers, blogs, etc.
F--k Up Of The Year: The ASP's "Calculation Error"
Really? Some random dude on a TransWorld SURF message board pulls out his calculator and says, "Excuse me, ASP, your math is wrong." This is the governing body of our "sport" giving out a World Title without double-checking the math? Really?
Surf Song Of The Year: "So Pitted" Remix
So technically this song came out in 2009, but with a resurgence in popularity thanks to a star turn on Tosh.0 and in the wipeout section of Surprise Excitement Party!, this song was given new life and is now stuck in our collective skulls for eternity.
Comeback Of The Year: Keala Kennelly
"Facial reconstruction of the year award" sounds odd, as does "facial of the year" If we did give out an award called that, it would no doubt go to Keala Kennelly who nearly had her whole face ripped off after face-planting on the reef at Teauhpoo. Her face looked like it was mauled by wolves. Then, three months later, she was all put back together and looking cute as ever. Keala is a bad ass!
Web Clip Of The Year: Tie
This one is too close to call. The hot sausage drop on out2brunch.com's "Sacré Blue!" nearly clinched it, but there's no way we could pick Wilko's French freak show over the all-time classic "Lowers Take-Over" brought to you by the instigators at lastnamefirst.tv. Nice work to both of you webheads--keep the blog magic flowing.
Beef Of The Year: Bobby Vs. The ASP
In case you didn't know, Bobby disagrees with the "One World Ranking" system and the mid-year cutoff. You heard his potty mouthed rant during the Quik Pro New York--here's what he'd say if he accepted this award ... "F--k you TransWorld. I don't want your stupid 'best beef' award. I'm not accepting any more awards ever. F--k this award and just for good measure, f--k the ASP one more time." For what it's worth, someone must have been listening--the midseason cut has been clipped for 2012. No word on whether or not Bobby will be back in 2012.
For more of our first annual 2011 TransWorld SURF Awards pick up a copy of the March 2012 issue of TransWorld SURF.