Image: Keala Kennelly Barrel Winner, on her winning wave at Teahupoo, Tahiti . PHOTO: © WSL/Mckenna
The world’s best big wave surfers hit the red carpet in Southern California on Sunday night for the 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards. The 16th annual awards gala at the The Grove Theatre in Anaheim celebrated the greatest rides of the past year and honoured the icons of the big wave community.
Accolades and awards were handed out to those who have demonstrated the highest performance of big wave surfing, ranging from barrels to wipeouts. During the yearlong window, submissions poured in from breaks around the world.
The big news was that Keala Kennelly won the Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award for her massive tube ride at Teahupoo, Tahiti. Kennelly’s win marks an historic moment at the 16th year of the Big Wave Awards, with the first time a woman has won in the category, or in any open-gender category.
Image: Keala Kennelly winning the Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award for her massive tube ride at Teahupoo, Tahiti at the XXL Big Wave Awards in California, USA.PHOTO: © WSL
“When I was a little girl, I kept getting told I could not do things because I was a girl,” Kennelly said. “I was told that women can’t surf, and I was told this about getting barrelled, surfing big waves, surfing Pipeline, paddling in a Jaws, and the list goes on. So who I really really want to thank is everyone who told me you can’t do that because you’re a woman. Because that drove me to dedicate my life to proving you wrong and it’s been so damn fun.”
Image: Adrea Moller stood out amongst the women’s field this year to take home the Women’s Best Performance Award at the WSL Big Wave Awards in California, USA. PHOTO: © WSL
Andrea Moller stood out amongst the women’s field this year to take home the Women’s Best Performance Award. This win marks Moller’s first victory in this category.
“This award means a lot to me,” Moller said. “This was the greatest winter, so to win the Women’s Performance of the Year and catch some of the biggest waves ever is an honor. I almost feel like I have waited ten years to be here. I even changed my priorities as I went to school and became a paramedic. When I came back to surfing, it was not to win an award, it was for pure fun. This winter was definitely all about fun, and was also a season that pushed me to a new level.”
2016 WSL Big Wave Award Winners:
Billabong Ride of the Year: Shane Dorian
Videographer: Dan Norkunas
Paddle Award: Aaron Gold
Photographer: Brent Broza
TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award: Yuri Soledade
Photographer: Jimmie Hepp
Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award: Keala Kennelly
Photographer: Tim McKenna
TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Award: Niccolo Porcella
Videographer: Tim Pruvost
Surfline Men’s Overall Performance Award: Shane Dorian
Women’s Best Overall Performance Award: Andrea Moller
2015/2016 WSL BWT Champion: Greg Long (HAW)
To view award winning rides from the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com/BigWave.
The WSL Big Wave Tour commences its 2016/2017 season on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. For more information log onto WorldSurfLeague.com.