Sorry, your version of Internet Explorer is too old to view properly.

Why not try Chrome instead.



Whoa! Nominees announced in WSL Big Wave Awards

Keala Kennelly © Tim McKenna






Big Wave Updates

From Tahiti to Jaws another year of amazing rides

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 March, 2016 -  The 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Award nominees have been announced following an historic El Niño winter, which delivered colossal waves and challenged surfers from around the world to push the limits of big wave surfing. 

The rides in this year’s nominations span across world renowned breaks, from heavy barrels at Teahupoo, Tahiti to monstrous waves at Jaws, Maui. The 2016 nominees demonstrated outstanding performances across a diverse assortment of award categories.

Shortlisted surfers include 2015/16 Big Wave Tour Champion, Greg Long, as well as past Big Wave Award recipients Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, and Keala Kennelly. Kennelly, who received the Overall Women’s Performance Award in 2014, is the first female to be nominated for an open gender category. The nominations also include up-and-comers Nathan Florence and Albee Layer.

"There was a lot of hype around El Niño this year, and as far as the big wave community is concerned, it delivered and then some,” said Bill Sharp, Event Director of the Big Wave Awards. “Not only were there extraordinary episodes of historically large surf, this time around the best surfers were able to handle it as it came and the results speak for themselves.

I think anyone who's been watching thinks there is a big chance records will be set when the results are in.”



"This is a historic day for women's surfing as it's the first time a female has been nominated for a unisex Big Wave Award category with Keala Kennelly's historic tube at Teahupoo,” continued Sharp.

“This has nothing to do with affirmative action or special divisions, she is nominated for the 2016 Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award because she simply pulled into one of the heaviest waves ever seen. Just look at the photos and no further explanation is required."

The WSL Big Wave Awards competition window ran from March 21, 2015 through March 15, 2016. Every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in this period was eligible for consideration across seven categories. A panel of judges chose the five best rides in each of the categories based on photographic and video evidence.

The winners will be crowned at a gala awards show at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California on April 23. To apply for media accreditation to the event please complete the credential form on or email Chloe Kojima at

This year’s event features over $250,000 in total prize money to be allotted across the categories along with TAG Heuer watches for winners.

In addition to the four categories announced today, the popular TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year, Women’s Performance and Surfline Overall Performance Awards finalists are yet to be revealed and will be announced onTuesday, March 29, 2016. Photographs and video of all the nominated rides can be viewed


The Billabong Ride of the Year is awarded to the surfer who demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video-footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded.

The category carries the biggest prize of the Big Wave Awards with $60,000 for the winner, $15,000 for second place, $10,00 for third, $5,000 for fourth and $3,000 for fifth place. The first place videographer will receive $6,000, and second through fifth place videographers will receive $750.

The Hawaiian surfers dominated the Billabong Ride of the Year nominations for this category, with all five finalists hailing from the Aloha State. Three of the five nominated rides took place during an epic winter at Jaws, Maui including entries from 2013 Ride of the Year winner Shane Dorian (who has a second nomination in the category from Jaws) and Albee Layer, who took second place at the 2015 Big Wave Tour Pe’ahi Challenge.

Tyler Larronde secured a nomination from his massive ride at Maverick’s, California. The remaining nominee, Nathan Florence, earned his selection on a heavy ride at Teahupoo, Tahiti.


Surfer prizes total $93,000  -  Videographer prizes total $9,000

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 6, 2015 (Video by Ryan Moss.)
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 10, 2016. (Video by Dan Norkunas.)
Nathan Florence (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on May 28, 2015. (Video by Tim Bonython.)
Tyler Larronde (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2016. (Video by Josh Pomer.)
Albee Layer (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016. (Video by Elliot Leboe.)

WSL, Big Wave Award, Nominees, Nathan Florence, Tyler Larronde, Albee Layer, El Niño winter
Dave Prodan

Latest photos


Follow us and sign up to our daily newsletter