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This event is an ongoing nine month challenge, rewarding riders of the biggest waves in Australian and New Zealand waters from May 1, 2010 to January 26, 2011.
Last year`s Biggest Wave winner, Laurie Towner, and prior defending champ Mark Mathews are both expected to be well in the running for this year`s major prize, which will take up the lion`s share of the $35,000 prizemoney.
Along with other prior Award winners like Ross Clarke-Jones, NZ`s Doug Young, and Western Australia`s Damon Eastaugh and Alex "Alfy" Cater, they`re eagerly monitoring Australasian swell forecasts in search of waves that exceed 20 feet -- the minimum height considered for entry.
Laurie shrugs off the obvious question - don`t these waves scare the crap out of you? "I love being scared, I don`t mind being scared," he says. "I wanna keep doing this for the next few years at least - I guess it feels natural to me."
He`s already targeting Mark Mathews`s ace-in-the-hole surf location - a terrifying deepwater reef in southern Australia. "I wanna really badly surf the big right where Mathews got his winning ride. That wave just looks sick. I`ve talked to a few people about it, I went down there once but it was too small, but it just looks like a wave I want to ride."
Surf Legend and event coordinator, Nick Carroll said as a judge he could only kick back and admire the daredevil athletes that take on these monsters of the sea.
"Over the last eight years, Surfing Life`s Oakley Big Wave Awards have revealed a side of surfing long hidden behind the glittering world of the professional scene," Carroll said.
"These guys do all of this for the love and thrill of riding ridiculously large waves and year after year push the boundaries of what is rideable, what is survivable, to new heights," he said.
These courageous surfers have used their home-grown skills and experience to push the sport`s limits, often without much publicity or attention apart from that of their mates and shocked spectators.
Surfing Life`s Oakley Big Wave Awards are designed to showcase these epic efforts in the way they deserve.
The event waiting period began on the 1st of May 2010 and will run until January 26st 2011. Entries will be backdated from the 1st of May - surfers sitting on rides they have ridden since then, but have not yet submitted, may do so now - all entries will be shown in full right here: http://www.surfinglife.com.au/bigwaveawards, along with weekly surf forecasts from Nick Carroll, blogs from Oakley big wave surfer Alfy Cater and some exciting reader prizes.