BILLABONG XXL BIG WAVE EXPERIENCE HITS SANTA CRUZ THIS WEEKEND;
LAST MINUTE SWELL ALONG WEST COAST HAS SURFERS ON RED ALERT
NEWPORT BEACH, CA – (March 14, 2011) – For the first time in the event’s 11-year history, a last-minute swell threatens to shake up the potential nominee list for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards during the final week of the event period. The swell is expected to hit Hawaii first, and then Maverick’s and other West Coast breaks this week, just ahead of the first XXL Big Wave Experience exhibit at the Sacred Craft Surfboard Show in Santa Cruz this Saturday and Sunday, March 19 & 20.
The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards fueled by Monster Energy covers every wave ridden at every spot in the world (based on the photographic evidence) and runs on an annual cycle ending on the last day of the Northern Hemisphere winter. That means any waves ridden during a series of swells expected in the coming days could count in a number of categories including Monster Paddle, Monster Tube and the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year. Never before has a major swell arrived so late in the season, and top big wave riders are watching the forecast and mobilizing to be in position to capitalize on a late run of high surf in what has been an unusually slow season in the North Pacific ocean.
Surfline, the official surf forecast of the XXL, advises that, “North Pacific frontal storm activity is furious right now as we have a series of solid WNW swells lining up for the West Coast this week.” Faces in excess of 30 feet are expected at deepwater breaks such as Maverick’s on Wednesday into Friday with more possible beyond that. Local weather will be the key issue with numerous passing frontal boundaries – but pockets of light wind and clean surface conditions could provide windows of spectacular opportunity.
Whether the sea surface conditions are perfect or not remains to be seen, but the dramatic burst of swell adds the excitement surrounding the upcoming Billabong XXL Big Wave Experience, an all-new exhibit that celebrates the surfboards that made big wave history — and the shapers who crafted them.
The XXL Big Wave Experience will take place at the Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Show at the Rittenhouse Building in Santa Cruz, California on March 19 & 20, 2011. Sacred Craft has quickly become one of the most important meeting grounds for surfboard designers around the world to share their art with the surfing public, and the Santa Cruz show — with its proximity to Maverick’s and its rich big wave heritage — is the perfect debut for the XXL Experience, which features many of the actual surfboards which were ridden to win XXL categories over the years.
Just a few of the historic boards available for examination include the tow boards Mike Parsons rode when he set the record for the biggest wave ever ridden (70 feet +) at Cortes Bank in 2008, along with the board he rode in the opening scene of the Billabong Odyssey movie – the most viewed surfing clip of all time on YouTube. Also on display will be Shane Dorian’s 9’8” gun he rode on massive paddle waves at Waimea Bay and Maverick’s (both Ride of the Year nominees in 2010), the board Skindog Collins rode in huge Puerto Escondido to take the first Ride of the Year title, Greg Long’s 9’8” striped gun he used to win the Eddie Aikau contest last year, the 10’5” gun Danilo Couto used to paddle into massive Jaws this winter, Maya Gabeira’s famed pink tow board and many, many more.
Along with the boards, Sacred Craft attendees can see the Billabong XXL Perpetual Trophy and view rarely-seen HD video highlights spanning over a decade of XXL events playing on Sony big screen TVs. They can also check out dozens of XXL-winning photographs and have the rare opportunity to meet and get autographs from some of the world’s top big wave surfers and shapers. Organizers had planned to use the occasion of the XXL Experience event to make a live announcement of the nominees for the 2011 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards – but with the impending swells looming large, the revealing of the finalists must now be pushed back a few days to allow for any epic last-second rides to be taken into consideration. Any fresh entries will face fierce competition from existing photos and video from rides taking place in France, Ireland, Fiji, Chile, Australia, Mexico, Hawaii and Oregon. To see all the amazing entries to date, see the event website at www.BillabongXXL.com.
The invitation-only 2011 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards ceremony takes place on April 29 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California. Over $130,000 in prize money will be awarded at the gala event in categories that include the Surfline Men’s Performance, Billabong Girls Performance, Monster Tube, Monster Paddle, XXL Biggest Wave, Verizon Wipeout of the Year and the $50,000 Billabong XXL Ride of the Year.
The 11th Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are fueled by Monster Energy. Verizon Wireless is the official communications provider and Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. Toyota is the official vehicle and Contour the exclusive provider of point of view cameras. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui.
To learn more about Sacred Craft, visit their website at www.SacredCraftExpo.com.
For more details on the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards see www.BillabongXXL.com.
Bill Sharp SurfNewsEd@aol.com 949-548-6740