DailyStoke.com was invited to attend the Billabong XXL Big Wave awards – so my photographer and I scored some all access media passes to the ridiculous festivities surrounding the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards. Freakin’ sweetness. If you ignored my recommendation to watch the webcast, here’s the recap from a first person perspective.
After fighting 2 hours of S.D. to O.C. Friday afternoon commuter traffic, we finally arrived at the Grove Theater in the shadow of Angel’s Stadium. Unfortunately for my parking karma, I was not driving a lime green Lamborghini, or a bus that said “MONSTER ENERGY DRINK” on it, so I was ushered to the back lot and away from the red carpet. “Six bucks? But I’m with the DailyStoke.com!” The parking attendant wasn’t amused…
I gotta be honest with everyone. My initial gut reaction…”Holy sh*t what a bunch of O.C. posers” Yes, I understand that surfing has become a glamour sport that Dolce and Gabana and the like use to sell everything from sunglasses to sequined handbags, but that is certainly not the culture I participate in. I definitely have never seen more Ed Hardy on middle aged men. Anyway, enough social commentary outta me, back to the event.
Billabong put together a multimedia “Big Wave Year In Review” presentation that would put Riding Giants to shame. No storyline, no ridiculous commentary, just amazing displays of skill, athletic prowess, and b*lls. Like any amazing surf porn premier, participating in the film with the audience is half the fun. There’s something about watching Ross Clarke-Jones become the lip at Shipsterns in High Definition.
The presentation highlight for me was definitely Greg Noll, Da Bull. He was saying that these guys are crazy, but I’d like to see any of the nominees drop 2 tabs of sunshine acid and paddle out in 40 foot Waimea Bay on a 8 foot single fin with no leash, no ski support, and no cameras. That is crazy. Mike Parsons nailed it though when he said, “Luck and balls have replaced skill and finesse.”
The winners of each category were all quite deserving. The photo snapped of Mark Healy’s head peaking at us from the pit at the Yeti in Oregon won him Monster Tube. Derek Dunfee, a La Jolla local, snagged Monster Paddle for his Mav’s bomb. Best Performer and Biggest wave both went to Grant “Twiggy” Baker for his overall season and subsequent 61′ goliath at Tafelberg Reef in South Africa. The Ride of the Year and $50K went deservingly to the only paddle in contender of the final 5, Greg Long, on a sharky, cold, cavern of a barrel at Dungeons in S. Africa. I think had the Californian not won, there may have been a riot in the audience judging by the crowd’s reactions. Lucky, the seasoned judges chose wisely and the REAL festivities began.
The DJ’s cranked the crunk beats, the kiddies and their parents drove back to Newport, and all 8 Monster flavors flowed like wine. Billabong sure knows how to make their employees and customers forget the economy: Killer big wave footage, short dresses, and lots of caffeine…simple pleasures.
Keep Leucadia Funky
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