VIDEO: The Biggest Waves (and Rides) of the Year

Billabong announces nominees for XXL awards... minus McNamara

Billabong announced the nominees yesterday for its annual XXL awards, which recognize the best performances by big wave surfers in the last year.

Past XXL winner Shane Dorian was nominated in all four categories, including Ride of the Year, for a monster tube ride at Hawaii’s Jaws on October 9, 2012. California surfer Shawn Dollar  charged close behind with three nominations, including Ride of the Year, Biggest Wave, and Pacifico Paddle, for the best paddle-in ride.

The 100-foot elephant in the room, though, is Garrett McNamara’s epic ride in Nazaré, Portugal this January, in which the 45-year-old may have set the world record for largest wave ever surfed.

When McNamara announced his withdrawal from consideration earlier this month, critics were quick to surmise that last year’s Big Wave winner didn’t want experts to scrutinize the height of his wave lest its 10-stories turn out to be more like five or six.

However, two other riders, Kealii Mamala of Hawaii and Antonio Silva of Portugal, were nominated in the Big Wave category for rides in Nazaré that same day.

Citing sponsorship of the award by Pacifico, McNamara told Surfer Magazine:

I decided to pull my ride from the event because I’m opposed to the event having an alcohol sponsor. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we really contribute to this world, and at the end of the day you’ve got to make choices. I don’t want kids to think that they’re going to be able to accomplish their goals in life by drinking alcohol. That’s only gonna make your goals harder to accomplish and I didn’t want to be associated with that.

McNamara further added in a statement, “I do not ride for Billabong and I did not go out that day and surf for a world record or to win any XXL prize money… It is not necessary to have a Billabong panel measure it. There have already been quite a few educated professionals who have measured it anywhere between 60-110 feet!”

Click here to see all the nominees.


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