O’Neill Raw Courage Award winners named in epic year
O'Neill Raw Courage Awards
O’Neill Raw Courage Awards Winners Announced
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 May, 2008 : - - On a day where Mother Nature and Neptune smiled, delivering clear blue skies, glassy seas and a 4-6 foot groundswell, O’Neill chose to honour South Africa’s best big wave surfers with the inaugural O’Neill Raw Courage Awards. The ceremony kicked off at Long Beach Kommetjie where a collection of South Africa’s premier big wave surfers gathered with their trusty 9 foot plus rhino chasers, before paddling out into the bay for the ceremony.
The surfers made a circle behind the backline in the clean blue sea and rocked up and down on the sets while O’Neill handed out the awards. Chris Bertish, O’Neill SA brand manager, made a short speech reiterating that the main focus of the Raw Courage Awards will always be paddling into the biggest waves possible.
“These awards are really all about honouring and respecting those watermen who show true courage by paddling with their own strength into the biggest waves the ocean can throw at them,” said Bertish before handing out the first cheque.
Ever cheerful Kommetjie based big wave legend Andy Marr scooped the main Raw Courage Award and the R25 000 first prize for a monster wave he paddled himself into just off the island of Todos Santos in Mexico, in December last year. Just behind him, in second place, was another Kommetjie local, Mickey Duffus for a clean and mean paddle-in wave at Dungeons. Third place was claimed by up and coming Cape Town charger Justin Stevens for his late drop on a huge Sunset wedge.
Next up was the Ultimate Ride Award, presented by Da Kine, for the best big wave ride over the last year. Mike Schlebach, another Kommetjie hellman rapidly making a name for himself in big wave surfing, scored the grand prize with his ride on a Dungeons dragon in July last year. Andy Marr came in second for a Dungeons bomb also ridden during that swell, while Grant Twiggy Baker took third place for the behemoth he rode at Sunset last weekend.
Grant Twiggy Baker also took the prize for the Biggest Wave Award, presented by Corona, when he towed into a monumental wave breaking on the undersea mountain known as the Cortez Banks, off the coast of California. Second place was shared by Andy Marr and Jason Ribbink, both surfing at the Dungeon during the swells of July 2007.
Local Kommetjie charger Mickey Duffus shared the Balls to the Wall Award with another under-rated local big wave star, James Taylor. The award serves to honour and respect those who show the most commitment in their pursuit of riding big waves, and inevitably end up taking late drops, copping heavy beatings, heinous wipe outs and long hold downs.
Both surfers scored a cool R2500 in cash and a brand new DVG 8 foot gun. Barry Futter and Justin Stevens shared 3rd place for their big wave heroics.
Durban’s Grant “Twiggy” Baker notched up another big wave accolade by winning the Green Room Award for the biggest and best barrel of the year, which he scored pulling into a ridiculous heaving slab at Dungeons in Cape Town. Kommetjie’s Mike Schlebach and Simon Louw came second and third respectively for their paddle-in barrels at macking Bayview in July last year.
That wrapped up the afternoon’s festivities. The surfers paddled back to the beach snagging a few of the little bombs unfolding on the Kranz sandbank. Until next year wax up the gun and pray for big waves!
O’Neill Raw Courage Awards Final Results:
O’Neill Raw Courage Award R25 000
1. Andy Marr (Todos Santos)
2. Mickey Duffus (Dungeons)
3. Justin Stevens (Sunset)
Ultimate Ride Award Presented by Da Kine R10 000
1. Mike Schlebach (Dungeons)
2. Andy Marr (Dungeons)
3. Grant Baker (Sunset)
Biggest Wave Award Presented by Corona R10 000
1. Grant Baker (Cortez Banks)
2. Andy Marr & Jason Ribbink (Dungeons)
Balls to the Wall Award R5000 |
1. Mickey Duffus & James Taylor
3. Barry Futter & Justin Stevens
Green Room Award R5000
1. Grant Baker (Dungeons)
2. Mike Schlebach (Bayview)
3. Simon Louw (Bayview)
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