2016 WSL Big Wave Award nominees are some of the best ever

Mark Mathews surfing at The Right in Australia on big wave for 2016 Big Wave Awards
Mark Mathews at The Right. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Sherrifs/WSL

What a winter for surf — thanks, El Nino! We saw the Eddie run for the first time since 2009, Jaws was lighting up every other week and every other big-wave spot in the world was just steamrolling.

The season resulted in more than 1,600 submissions for the 2016 WSL Big Wave Awards, making this one of the most competitive pools ever. The short list of nominees was announced on March 23 for the categories of Ride of the Year, Barrel of the Year, Paddle Wave of the Year and Biggest Wave of the Year.

Check out all those nominees below and stay tuned as the nominees for Wipeout of the Year, Women’s Best Overall Performance and Men’s Best Overall Performance will be announced on March 29. The WSL Big Wave Awards will take place on April 23 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.

Ride of the Year

Shane Dorian certainly owned Jaws this winter, but it will be hard to beat that Teahupoo disappearing act from Nathan Fletcher and one of the best barrels ever at Jaws from Albee Layer.

Barrel of the Year

Keala Kennelly is the first woman ever nominated for Barrel of the Year. Photo: Courtesy of Tim McKenna/WSL
Keala Kennelly is the first woman ever nominated for Barrel of the Year. Photo: Courtesy of Tim McKenna/WSL

Barrel of the Year sees a historic first this year: Keala Kennelly is the first woman to ever be nominated for the category. Her wave at Teahupoo last July was one of the heaviest ever ridden by a woman. Tom Butler’s wave at Mullaghmore Head in Ireland may give Keala a run for her money, along with Mark Mathews’s wave at The Right in Australia and Ian Walsh and Greg Long’s waves at Jaws. But Keala’s Teahupoo monster might just out-barrel them all.

Paddle Wave of the Year

Aaron Gold clearly got one of the best waves ever ridden at Jaws, but Pedro Calado’s left there as well took some serious cojones – and he paid dearly for it.

Biggest Wave of the Year

Nazare dominates this category, as it consistently does every year. Pedro Scooby had an avalanche of water chasing him there and appears to have been on the biggest wave of the year.

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