The Billabong XXL Awards

Shane Dorian and Shawn Dollar dominate the biggest night in big-wave surfing

| posted on May 04, 2013

Ride of the Year Winner Shane Dorian at Jaws

Last night the world’s most audacious wave riders and scantily-clad surf fans arrived at the Grove in Anaheim for the 2013 Billabong XXL Awards. What followed was an emotional look back at one of the most eventful years in the history of big-wave surfing. The massive swells ridden at Jaws, Cloudbreak, and Cortes Bank provided not only a glimpse into the future of big-wave surfing, and what these surfers are truly capable of achieving, but also a much more sobering look at the importance of water safety in this era of broken limits.

It was no surprise that Shane Dorian took top honors for his incredible performance at Jaws this winter, angling his way through massive barrels and onto the podium for both the Ride of the Year and Pacifico Tube awards. Shawn Dollar had a breakout session as well from a now infamous session at Cortes Bank. He not only caught the biggest wave of that day, but it was the biggest ever paddled, measuring in at 61 feet. For his efforts, he walked away with a few extra-large cardboard checks and both the Pacifico Paddle and XXL Biggest Wave awards.

More memorable than any wave conquered in the last year was the near-drowning of Greg Long after a wipeout and extended hold down at Cortes Bank. In a heartfelt acceptance speech for the Men’s Performance Award, Long expressed his gratitude to the surfers who came to his aid on the day, and the members of the Coast Guard who airlifted him to safety in the middle of the night. While it was a painful wakeup call, Long hopes it will lead to increased awareness and improved safety in waves of consequence.

For an in-depth look at how the events of this past year have molded the state of big-wave surfing today, click here to read Brad Melekian’s article “In Harm’s Way,” from our May issue.

Welcome to the big show. Photo: Lowe-White

Dave Wassel is a man who knows how to make an entrance. Photo: Glaser

With aerial prowess and big-wave bravado to burn, Matt Meola and Albee Layer are making Maui proud. Photo: Glaser

Shawn Dollar, taking the honors for biggest wave of the year. Photo: Lowe-White

Brothers in arms, Dave Wassel and Shane Dorian. Photo: Glaser

Shane Dorian, accepting his prize for Ride of the Year. Photo: Glaser

Big barrels are much more impressive on big screens. Probably even more so from where Shane Dorian is standing. Photo: Glaser

John John Florence made an appearance at the XXL awards. Unfortunately, Taylor Swift was nowhere to be found. Photo: Glaser

The undisputed queen of big-wave surfing, Keala Kennelly, gave a typically awesome acceptance speech for her Girl's Performance Award. Photo: Glaser

Presented by Pacifico

WINNER: Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($50,000)
Video by Elliot Leboe ($5,000)
Second place: Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 ($5,000)
Third place: Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 10, 2012 ($1,500)
Fourth place: Dave Wassel (Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)
Fifth place: Reef McIntosh (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji june 8, 2012 ($1,500)

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (Wave was 61ft, new paddle world record) ($20,000)
Photographed by Frank Quirarte ($4,000)

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (First time a paddle surfer has won this category) ($10,000)
Photographed by Rob Keith ($4,000)

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($5,000)
Photographed by Fred Pompermayer ($2,000)

Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) ($5,000)

Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) ($5,000)

Chris Shanahan (Denmark, WA, Australia) at The Right, West Australia ($2,000)
Video by Darren McCagh ($1,000)

  • Ben

    Bullshit. The Cloudbreak waves were, in my opinion, more spectacular, if only for their perfection.

  • Jp


  • Jeff Knox

    Why weren’t the male awards called “boy’s”? It seems that in the marketing world of surfing, macho respect is reserved for “men” and cutie-pie imaging (even for the best female athletes in the surfing world) is reserved for “girls”. Surfing “life style” companies need to get it together and join the real world.

  • D Marquez

    Shane Dollar got robbed, Dorian didnt even paddle out on that bombing day at Cortez!

  • Surf Images

    D Marquez, are you assuming Dorian was to scared to paddle out that “bombing day at Cortez”?
    Dorian probably chose not to paddle out because the waves sucked that day?