Last night saw the WSL Big Wave Award ceremony go down in Santa Monica, awarding a selection of accolades to the hardest charging surfers of 2017.
As well as winning The Quiksilver Biggest Wave Award, Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa also secured a new world record for biggest wave ever surfed for a Nazaré monster, towed back in November, which came in at a whopping 80 foot, two foot bigger than McNamara’s 2011 wave from the same spot.
“I try to surf big waves all my life, and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy, and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.”
The mayor of Nazaré, Walter Chicharro, was also absolutely stoked:
“This record is definitely the icing on the cake, so it’s a fantastic day in my life as a mayor who believes that our waves can help promote Nazaré on an international level,” he said.
“Nazaré has a fantastic relationship with these giant wave riders. This connection is enormous, the people integrate them and welcome them all these winters. I think these awards will be celebrated with a mix of joy and pride by the people of Nazaré, who are proud of their deeds.”
McNamara also wasted no time in congratulating Koxa, saying:
“I am so proud of you, Rodrigo Koxa, for winning the biggest wave. When Rodrigo first came to Hawaii, he lived with me at my house, and I shared all my experience with him for years. Then, he came to Nazaré, humble and grateful,”
“He is one of the most grateful people I have ever come across, and a living example that gratitude will take you farther than any other personality trait. His gratitude and humbleness have paid off ten fold. His eagerness and willingness to ask for guidance and learn everything has gotten him where he is tonight. Congrats!”
“It’s crazy. I arrived in Nazaré only eight years ago, and I instantly knew we had just found the biggest wave in the world. For years there was no one out and not a single soul at the light house. Most days I was the only surfer in the town and would surf alone,”
“Even after Cotty put me on the Guinness World Record wave, it would still be a couple of years until the big wave community believed and then finally joined us in Nazaré. There is no big wave surf spot that deserves to have the record besides Nazaré.”
Here’s footage of the winning wave:
In other news, Devon’s Andrew Cotton walked away with the Wipeout Of the Year Award for his back-breaking bouncy ball impression at Nazaré.
“I’d like to thank the Nazaré crew, the Mayor, and the community there,” he said. “They’ve become like a family to me. Can’t thank my own family enough for putting up with all the last minute travels and schedule they deal with, it’s incredible.”
“Since that day of the injury, I’ve progressed more each day, and now I’m just looking to get back out there on the waves I love to surf. This is the dream of any big wave surfer is to be in the XXL Awards and to get on tour, but for me, it’s always been about Biggest Wave or Ride of the Year.”
It’s amazing to be up there in front of your heroes after being out for over six months and my goal is to be back out there in the summer or by October to really start charging again.”
Cover Photo: © Pedro Cruz