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Winners announced at ASL’s Oakley Big Wave Awards

Mark Mathews © Calum Macaulay


No contest singlets… no ratings points… just one really big wave…

Winners Announced at Surfing Life’s Oakley Big Wave Awards

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 February, 2011 : - - Three days before he caught the second $20,000 wave of his life, Mark Mathews was hard at work … in New York City. Mark runs seminars based on his big wave experiences for business groups in need of a kick in the pants. But in NYC that morning, after a night of watching the weather patterns on the other side of the planet, he couldn’t help himself.

Why NOT ask a group of New York investment bankers who’d never surfed in their lives if they thought a storm swell off Western Australia might be worth 48 hours of manic travel?? “I asked them what they thought, and they said, ‘You’ve got to go for it!’” recounts this year’s winner of the Biggest Wave at Surfing Life’s Oakley Big Wave Awards.

So began a mad dash halfway round the world, which ended with Mathews riding the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest wave of 2010 – with a freshly torn knee ligament. It’s an incredible tale, one made even crazier by the wave itself: a terrifying shallow rock reef ledge off south-western Australia, known with telling terseness as “The Right”.



Biggest Paddle-in Ride was won by Dean Bowen


“To get deep in the barrel out there, you have to be in a position where you really feel like you’re too deep and you’re not going to make it,” said Mathews. “It goes against your body’s natural survival instinct. “Getting smashed by this thing is probably similar to what it’d feel like rolling off a huge waterfall into crazy rapids.”

The Maroubra surfer pronounced himself “stunned” and “over the moon” at his win – his second Biggest Wave in three years of entries to the Awards, which were presented last night at Bondi Pavilion. He is one of only two surfers to win the Awards twice – the other being Margaret River surfer Damon Eastaugh in 2004 and 2005.

It ensconses him in the very top ranks of the world’s big wave riders.


Cale Grigson © Calum Macaulay


The $5000 Biggest Slab Award went to Cale Grigson from Denmark in Western Australia for his own fearsome ride at The Right – one made more entertaining on the day by the presence of a five-metre great white shark which cruised around the lineup from dawn to dusk. “I guess it had come to sniff out the action on its home turf,” said Cale. “In between waves we felt like we were dangling like some sort of human lure!”

Biggest Paddle-in Ride was won by 20-year-old top pro junior surfer Dean Bowen from NSW’s South Coast.

Special Recognition Awards went to surfer Jon Dwyer and surf photographers Bill Morris and Russell Ord, who were involved in separate surf rescue incidents during the past year.

Ord pulled drowning American surfer Jacob Trette out of danger at California’s lethal Maverick’s surf spot, while Dwyer and Morris saved “Bondi Rescue” lifeguard Kobi Graham after Graham suffered a broken neck off Cape Solander in southern Sydney.

Now back in the water and surfing after an extended recovery, Graham was quick to praise his rescuers, saying: “If it wasn’t for them, I could be dead or in a wheelchair.”

Big winner in the photographic Shooter Awards was Calum Macauley, who shot both Mathews’s and Grigson’s winning rides. He took home $3500, sharing the Slab photo award with Kerby Brown. Well-known surf filmmaker Tim Bonython won $1000 for the recording of Dean Bowen’s win.

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Nick Carroll
Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards

Ryan Jones
Morrison Media Pty Ltd

Sheridan Jones
Oakley South Pacific

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Cassandra Murnieks

Big Wave - Surfersvillage


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