The Biggest Big-Wave Rides of the Year, Including the Biggest Wave Ever Surfed

May 7, 2012
Outside Magazine

Nathan Fletcher, Ride of the Year and Monster Tube Champion, Teahupoo, Tahiti

Garrett McNamara won with the Biggest Wave Award, earned a Guinness World Record for the biggest wave ever surfed, and took home the Wipeout of the Year award at the 2012 Billabong Global Big Wave Awards this past Friday. After a video of McNamara surfing the giant went online this past November, a dispute rose over its actual size. The official measurement of the monster he rode off the coast of Portugal was 78 feet.

"It's amazing we get to do what we do, I am so grateful. The world record doesn't mean as much to me, this is for the town of Nazaré and Portugal and for all my family and friends there. To be able to give them something to be proud of and inspire them, a world record for this town doing it tough in the middle of nowhere is great," McNamara said."I didn't want to get caught up in it all, but I have to tell you the truth, when they announced my name I got a bigger rush than probably on all the waves I rode this year."

Even with so many accolades going to McNamara, Nathan Fletcher took home the $50,000 check for Ride of the Year. He also won the Surfline Best Performance Award and the Monster Tube Award. Maya Gabeira walked off stage as the Girls Performance Champion for the fifth time. Billabong announced the winners in Anaheim, California, at an event packed with surfers and celebrities.

Here is a quick video round-up of all the awards.

Garrett McNamara, Biggest Wave Champion, Praia del Norte, Portugal:

Dave Wassel, Monster Paddle Champion, Jaws, Maui, Hawaii:

Garrett McNamara, Wipeout of the Year Champion, Jaws, Maui, Hawaii:

For videos of all of the nominees, check out Billabong XXL. You can watch the awards show on the Billabong XXL site here—fast forward to minute 56 to avoid the pre-show.

--Joe Spring

Filed To: Adventure, Surfing

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