The First Ever Big Wave Awards for Windsurfing

“It’s been a long held secret that Windsurfers have pioneered the extreme end of big wave riding, with early innovators like Laird Hamilton (USA), Dave Kalama (HI), Robert Teriitehau (FRA) and many others secretly pushing the limits at Pe’ahi. Windsurfers were leading the way with technique and equipment innovation around wind powered access to the biggest waves that led to tow-in surfing, foot-straps, and ultra performance board and fin development directly because of the ability to handle the very high speeds of extreme windsurfing. Until the #IWTBIGWAVE Challenge, these extraordinary big wave rides from the hard core underground windsurfers have gone without any official awards or acknowledgement. It’s been the surfers who have claimed all the media, until now. It’s time everyone discovered that it’s the windsurfers who got us all to this point.”  IWT Director Simeon Glasson

The IWT Big Wave Challenge

To get the best big waves on the planet, this contest uses an online format (Covid-Safe), where riders and image makers enter a photo or video of their biggest wave rides using the hashtag #iwtbigwave on Instagram. An international panel of judges determines the biggest and best for Men, Women, Youth (<20) and now also Masters (45+). There are awards for the ‘all-time best’ and the ‘annual best’. We receive entries of giant waves from all across the planet, but by far the dominant big wave location is Pe’ahi (Jaws) on Maui’s north shore. This is where most of the top big wave riders base themselves to catch the biggest ridable waves from October through to March each year. This is the thunder-dome of windsurfing.

IWT Big Wave Challenge
Global Window 24/7/365
Next Awards Night April 2022
Awards Categories:
#1 Biggest Ride – photo + video categories
#2 Most Radical – photo + video categories
#3 Storm Rider – photo + video categories
#4 Worst Wipeout – photo + video categories

Categories: All-Time Awards + Annual Awards
Divisions: Open Pro, Women, Youth, Masters

How to Enter:
Riders and image makers enter photos or video of giant wave rides from around the world to the hastag #IWTBigWave, then an international panel of judges determines the biggest, the best, and the most radical. The biggest and most radical wave rides in history awarded and celebrated for the first time.

Annual Awards Night:
April: The #IWTBIGWAVE Awards Night is held on the North Shore of Maui, Hawaii. This ‘Wave of the Winter’ style media based competition was launched for the first time in January 2019. The first IWT Big Wave Awards were announced on April 10, 2020 for  the all-time biggest,, the most radical, and worst wipeout big wave rides in the history of the sport and of each season. Divisions for 2019/20 were Men, Women and Youth (<20). For 2020/21 we added a Masters (45+) division and a new catorgory: IWT Big Wave Storm Rider.

The Big Wave Surfing Crossover:

Kai Lenny, Mens Journal “I saw the lip and knew I wanted to do a big turn right there. Then when I got up there, the wave pitched out a lot quicker than I anticipated, so I leapt off the lip and relying on my experience in sports like windsurfing, I was able to fly through the air. It felt really big, but at the same time I’m so used to flying through the air that it didn’t feel out of the ordinary. When I landed my feet jammed more into the straps and I kept on riding.”

Kelly Slater @Kai_Lenny at Jaws the other day got me like 😳🙈 Proof that all that cross sports training from windsurfing to kiting is working out.”

Peter Mel, WSL big wave commentary team talking about Kai tow-in riding, “You know what’s crazy too? He used to do that stuff with sailboards right?! The way he approached that lip line was very reminiscent of guys windsurfing up here. That is crazy. to be going that fast and leaving the face… that is 15… 20 feet dropping.”

———————————————-

The 2021 BIG WAVE Awards

The IWT Big Wave Awards Night, delayed until June 2021 due to Covid restrictions on Maui, was a night of celebration and true aloha, celebrating the best Big Wave Riders in the world.

IWT BIG WAVE 2021 OPEN PRO CHAMPION
Rider: ZANE SCHWEITZER
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

IWT BIG WAVE 2021 WOMENS CHAMPION
Rider: SARAH HAUSER
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January, 2021

IWT BIG WAVE 2021 YOUTH CHAMPION
Rider: ADAM WARCHOL
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

IWT BIG WAVE 20/21 MASTERS CHAMPION
Rider: JASON POLAKOW
Photo: Erik Aeder
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

The MOST RADICAL Big Wave Rider Awards:

IWT BIG WAVE 20/21 MOST RADICAL CHAMPION
Rider: MARCILIO BROWNE
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

IWT BIG WAVE 20/21 STORM RIDER CHAMPION
Rider: THOMAS TRAVERSA
Photo: Heidi Hansen Photography
Place: Nazaré, Portugal
Date: January 16, 2021

IWT BIG WAVE 20/21 BIGGEST WIPEOUT
Rider: ADAM WARCHOL
Photo: Fish Bowl Diaries
Place: Pe’ahi, JAWS, Maui North Shore
Date: January 16, 2021

The 2020 BIG WAVE Awards

The first year saw well over 100 entries. Each one a stunning display of power, skill, and exceptionally brave riding. We saw entries from across the world, and across the ages. From Ireland, Portugal, France, Spain, Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, and of course Hawaii. From the 1980’s, 90’s, 2000’s and right up to the first few months of 2020 just before entries closed on March 31 2020, the big waves flowed in.

This first year saw many, but far from all, the great big wave rides across the whole history of our sport emerge to be seen together in one place, for the first time. As years go by we will see more and more extraordinary images emerge, both old and new.

 

 

Menu