The biggest wave in Australasian waters


At Surfing Life's Oakley Big Wave Awards, Damien Warr took home the grand prize and $20,000 for the award for biggest wave ridden in Australian or New Zealand waters over the past year. Warr received the award based on video of him surfing at Western Australia's Cow Bombie on what organizers called the best day in the past five years.

"The day was just right. It was clean, not much wind, the sort of day we haven't had there since 2006," Warr said when accepting his award.

The awards ceremony, now in its ninth year, took place Tuesday night in Sydney, Australia. More than 50 people submitted entries across all categories for this year's contest from locations in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Queensland's Jamie Mitchell won the award for biggest paddle-in ride on the same day that Warr rode his winning wave. Tyler Hollmer-Cross won the biggest slab award -- given for waves thicker than they are tall -- for a day at Shipstern Bluff.

Shooter Awards went to videographers Rick Jakovich, Tim Bonython, Dave Otto and Jamin McLean and photographer Andrew Chisolm, who documented the award-winning rides.

"This year's winners were exceptional as the Biggest Wave winner was one of the biggest waves we have seen win the contest in a number of years," Ryan Jones, the event's content manager, told ESPN. "And the fact that it was won by a regular, unsponsored Australian surfer says a lot about these awards and the people that are a part of them."

A panel of judges made up of more than 75 surfers who've previously entered the Big Wave contest rank the videos via a secret ballot. "It really is an event for the surfers, by the surfers. This ensures that those people who know these waves and surf spots most intimately vote for those waves that they feel are the biggest," Jones said. "It is the only surfing event of its kind where we throw the judging process back to the entrants."