Big Wave Updates
Epic Surf Continues for the 2014 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 February, 2014 - The most extraordinary year ever in big wave surfing has gone to yet another level as the latest swell (spawned by Winter Storm Brigid) has slammed Europe. United Kingdom surfer Andrew Cotton made the most of the opportunity, riding a wave at Nazaré, Portugal yesterday that has sent the internet ablaze with speculation that it might be the biggest of all time.
Even Cotton himself believes it was larger than the one he rode at the same location in October during the "St. Jude's Storm" swell which already had placed him among the frontrunners for a Biggest Wave nomination in the 2014 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards presented by Pacifico.
Cotton, 34, has quickly become the most famous surfer in England and a celebrity across Europe thanks to his recent achievements. Hailing from Braunton in North Devon, "Cotty" is no stranger to the core big wave world, having made his mark on huge days at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland, including a nomination for Biggest Wave at the 2012 Billabong XXL Awards.
"Europe has been bonkers this winter and Nazaré has been the center of attention," said Cotton today.
"This last swell was 50/50 for me and I almost went to Ireland, but Garrett McNamara called me last minute and assured me it was on. It was far from perfect -- bordering on unsurfable maybe. But we had a real good game plan and focused on the outside rights. I lucked into one...how big I don't know, but I look forward to hearing from the Billabong XXL experts when the judging takes place in the spring.
"Massive thanks goes to Garrett for putting me into the position and being such a huge inspiration to me to achieve goals," Cotton added. "And of course the people of Nazaré, who love and are so amped on the big waves there so lucky to have."
Yesterday's enormous waves are just the exclamation point on what has been almost inarguably the greatest month in the history of big wave surfing. Starting with the "Hercules Swell" in early January, the world's best surfers have been shuttling back and forth from Europe to California to Hawaii where the strongest storms in years (if not some of the most intense recorded ever) have generated XXL-level waves along one coast or another on the majority of the days during the period.
In the midst of the mayhem were huge paddle-in days at Jaws on Maui (along with the first big tow-in day there in half a decade), gigantic tubes in Ireland, the running of the Body Glove Maverick's Invitational contest in Northern California, shocking waves at Belharra, France, Greg Long's solo mission to the notorious Cortes Bank and much, much more.
"We've had more photos and video clips entered into the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards in the last 30 days than we would have in a typical year," said XXL event director Bill Sharp. "What's going on in all the oceans of the world right now is totally unprecedented. And we still have a good month and a half left to go with winter. Who knows what will happen next?"
Breaking news arrivals of highlight photos and video can be seen immediately on the XXL Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. Hundreds more are being posted to the BillabongXXL.com event website as swiftly as possible where the entire year's worth of entries can be reviewed and compared.
The latest batch of rides will join earlier XXL event entries from Chile, Peru, South Africa, Tahiti, Tasmania, Mexico and Hawaii as the peak months for wave action in the North Atlantic and Pacific are just now underway. The annual event period for the competition runs through the end of winter, with the nominees in seven categories announced in late March. The Annual Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards will take place at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on May 2, 2014 where over $120,000 in prize money will be awarded to this year's champions.
The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards are presented by Pacifico Beer. Pelican Products is the official provider of waterproof cases. Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecast of the XXL. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui airlines.