Daredevil surfers showcase biggest waves of 2015 / 2016
The Southern Hemisphere’s wildest surf competition, the Oakley Big Wave Awards, has today revealed this year’s finalists in three categories – Biggest Paddle-In, Biggest Slab, and Biggest Wave. With a massive $30,000 prize pool on offer, this year’s finalists have gone harder than ever, taking on unbelievable, death-defying rides in the pursuit of big wave glory.
With over 100 entries, the most entered in Oakley Big Wave Awards history, only 10 rides have made it through to the final round. Finalists will now be placed before an international panel of non-affiliated big wave surf champions for their judgement. On presentation night, the winners of each category will go up against each other for the big prize: Big Wave Ride Of The Year, with the winner taking home $20,000.
The 2015/2016 entries are amongst the largest and heaviest waves to be ridden in the Southern Hemisphere, surfed on open-ocean waves, kilometers offshore, in waters frequented by large Great White sharks.
Justin Holland, a finalist from Kingscliff NSW, put it all on the line during a swell in June 2015. Riding one of the largest waves of the year, his first time surfing the legendary break at Cow Bombie, he eventually, and unfortunately, broken his femur.
“I had always wanted to surf Cow Bombie, so I was stoked to finally have things fall into place and chase it with my good friend, and fellow finalist, Jamie Mitchell. Jamie towed me into six or eight waves before my finalist entry, which was definitely bigger than any of the others I caught that day”
Western Australia’s Mick Corbett, who was also out during the same giant session, has three massive entries, across two different surf breaks and two different awards categories. “My tow-partner, and last year’s Biggest Wave winner, Jarryd Foster and I hit every big swell that came to Australia this year. Everywhere we went was huge! We were very lucky as a lot of surf trips don’t end up being as good as you want, but it seems we couldn’t put a foot wrong this year”
Event Coordinator, Nick Carroll, explains that this year’s impressive array of entries is matched by the diversity of the surfers involved. “This year set an entry record and I think that says a lot about the variety of people who are approaching this facet of surfing today. It’s really open to any skilled surfer who wants to feel the rush of a big wave — the qualification is in the heart and soul, not so much in the competitive technique. On the entry list we had everything; from a great ride by a young woman (Felicity Palmateer) to a potential winner from a kid who could just as well have been on the WSL’s world tour (Heath Joske), to super charging tradie (Mick Corbett), and the desert marauder(Camel)”.
This year, the popular Viewer’s Choice Award category will return, with the general public holding the voting power to choose their favourite entry. The surfer to take out the Viewer’s Choice category will receive a coveted surf trip to Indonesia. Voters will go in the draw to win weekly prizes, including four GoPro® HERO4 Black* cameras, Oakley gear and Surfing Life magazine subscriptions.
The 2015/2016 winners will be announced at a star-studded evening at Manly Wharf Bar on Wednesday 2nd March, co-hosted by Hawaiian big wave royalty Makua Rothman and surf media personality Ronnie Blakey.
For more information on the Oakley Big Wave Awards, and to vote for your favourite ride in the Viewer’s Choice Award, visit: www.bigwaveawards.com.au.
Follow all the action at @bigwaveawards and #OAKLEYBWA.