The New Big Wave Challenge held its inaugural awards ceremony in Nazaré, Portugal on Saturday. Though there was stiff competition from this year’s chargers, Nathan Florence and Justine Dupont won top honors, in addition to receiving awards for the rides of the year.
Though this is the first year of the NBWC, the event will seem familiar to many. The show was spearheaded by Bill Sharp as a replacement for the XXL Big Wave Awards, which he also founded. “Big wave surfing has found itself without a ‘town square’ over the last few years where all the athletes, shooters and fans can focus their attention and know what is happening in the sport,” Sharp told Maui Now. “A lot of the top big wave surfers came to me this last year and asked me to try to bring back the excitement of the old XXL event days – so I developed what I’ve been calling the New Big Wave Challenge.”
The competition window included every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world from August 2022 through July 2023. Nazaré was an apt locale of the awards for obvious reasons, but the setting also had a pragmatic benefit. As Sharp explained, many of the big wave chargers honored by the awards would already be congregating in the region for the start of the winter season. It’s only fitting that those who competed and won awards are probably heading back out in the ocean, hopefully to return with even wilder footage for next year’s event.
Below is the full list of winners:
SURFER OF THE YEAR
Men – Nathan Florence (Hawaii)
Women – Justine Dupont (France)
WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR
Danny Griffiths at Shipstern Bluff. Video by Talon Clemow
Ned Hart (Australia)
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SPORT
Big Wave Tour founder Gary Linden
Nazaré Mayor Walter Chicharro