Dear WSL Big Wave Awards Surfers and Photographers,
I wanted to check in with everyone about some major developments with the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards. As you may have heard, we have more than doubled the prizes for the event this year as posted on the event website HERE. This is a massive upgrade and one the WSL felt was very important for the big wave community, especially at a time when surf company sponsorships have come under growing pressure. Total prize money for this year will be $250,000 in cash (plus an assortment of magnificent TAG Heuer watches for winners). In addition, the WSL has committed to lifting the prize purse for 2017 to $350,000 and up to $400,000 in 2018. This totals a full One Million Dollars in cash to big wave surfers and photographers over the next three years. Surfer representatives including Greg Long and Grant Baker were instrumental in helping develop this growth plan and have given it their approval.
At the same time we are moving to modernize features of the event such as online registration for both surfers and photographers and an automated uploading system for video and still image content to reduce paperwork and streamline operations. Those features should hopefully be available next month.
With all of these upgrades now in place and a potentially game-changing El Nino winter looming, it’s important we gear up for the peak of the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards season by making sure any older photos of video from earlier this year that are worthy of entry are submitted immediately. Effective November 1, 2015 we will only be accepting current (less than ten days old) images as official entries, so if you have any shots of you or by you from earlier in the season from Puerto Escondido or Cow Bombie or Teahupoo or Shipsterns or anywhere else there were exceptional waves since March 21, get them in by that date. Until the online system is in place, just email to me as usual. If you need the Submission Guidelines, you can download via the link at the bottom.
Please limit your submissions to your better selects as we already have a lot of outstanding entries for this time of the year. If you haven’t had a look lately, check out the latest submissions across these three main XXL locations:
World Surf League – Big Wave Awards and Tour
World Surf League XXL – YouTube
World Surf League XXL – Facebook
In addition to all the surfer and photo prize upgrades, we have fine-tuned the rules for the event, including some changes to the Surfline Overall Performance Award. Instead of announcing a single winner as in the past, we will now end the season with a Top Ten ranking, with top finishers earning four of the seeded slots in the following year’s WSL Big Wave Tour. The Performance Award will be judged by reviewing every still photo and video entry a surfer has had submitted to every Big Wave Award category for the full year at every spot. The complete updated ultra-detailed rule book will be available online later this month.
With your support, the Big Wave Awards have come a long way since 2000 and we are all well positioned to take the sport to a new level in the next few years. I wish you the best of luck for the coming season and look forward to working with you to make the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards truly one for the record books.
WSL Big Wave Awards
PS: The tentative date for the next WSL Big Wave Awards & Tour gala party function is April 22 or 23, 2016. It will be in Southern California but we are looking at some potential new venues to freshen it up.