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Justine Dupont, France’s premier female big-wave surfer, has made history.
At the inaugural Big Wave Challenge awards, held October, 28th in Nazaré, Portugal, Dupont took home the top honors in three categories, including Biggest Wave.
The ride came from a strike mission to Cortes Bank, a spooky mysto wave breaking some 100 miles off the California coast in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while shooting HBO’s 100 Foot Wave. It was clocked in at 75 feet; check it out below.
Here’s more from the official press release of the awards:
NAZARÉ, PORTUGAL -- OCTOBER 29 2023) -- Justine Dupont of France was the top winner last night at the Big Wave Challenge awards presentation, picking up trophies for Biggest Wave, Ride or the Year and Surfer of the Year in the women's categories. Driving her victories was a wave she rode at the Cortes Bank, a rogue seamount 100 miles off the California coast last January while filming for the HBO Documentary Series 100 Foot Wave. The wave was estimated at 75 feet on the face and will be in contention for a Guinness World Record.
Also dominating the proceedings was Hawaii's Nathan Florence who grabbed two of the Oscar-style trophies for Ride of the Year and Surfer of the Year. Florence's winning wave, which he took on at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland, was deemed to be the best of the 2022-23 season by a panel of 200 surfing experts who voted by a secret ballot.
Other winners included a tie in the men's Biggest Wave division where the wave ridden by Nic Von Rupp (Portugal) at Nazaré was deemed to be in the same height range as the one Shaun Walsh (Hawaii) caught at Jaws on Maui.
The Paddle Awards were taken by Chacha Ibarra at Punta de Lobos in his home country of Chile, and Laura Enever who caught a gigantic wave on Oahu's North Shore last January which should end up as another Guinness World Record entry.
Ned Hart from Dunsmore, Western Australia was selected as the Young Gun honoree based on an amazing wave he rode at Shipstern Bluff, Tasmania. Hart was just 16 at the time. Shipsterns also delivered the Wipeout of the Year for Danny Griffiths.
The arrival of the New Big Wave Challenge marked the first time in three years that the elite of big wave surfing were invited to walk the red carpet and be celebrated on stage for their amazing achievements. Event creator Bill Sharp was thrilled at the outcome.
"Big wave surfing once again has a platform where the surfers, the shooters and the fans can all come together to follow the best the sport has to offer," said event creator Bill Sharp. "I'm beyond stoked at how this first edition came together and how the surfers rallied behind it. This is just the very start of something great. And now that the first awards are in the can we can jump right back into it with the 2023-24 event cycle underway and El Niño expected to produce an epic winter."
And here’s the full winners list:
BIG WAVE CHALLENGE WINNERS
SURFER OF THE YEAR
Men - Nathan Florence (Hawaii)
Women - Justine Dupont (France)
RIDE OF THE YEAR
Men - Nathan Florence at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland. Video by João Tudella
Women - Justine Dupont at Cortes Bank. Video by Johnny Decesare & Tucker Wooding
Men - Chacha Ibarra at Punta Lobos, Chile. Video by Oscar Fredes Rodrigues & Rodrigo Farias.
Women - Laura Enever at Outer Reef Oahu. Video by Ian Grose, photo by Daniel Russo.
Men - (TIE)
Nic Von Rupp at Nazaré, video by Tim Bonython
Shaun Walsh at Jaws, video by Carlo Carbajal. Photo by Fred Pompermayer
Women - Justine Dupont at Cortes Bank, video by Johnny Decesare. Photo by Frank Quirarte.
WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR
Danny Griffiths at Shipstern Bluff. Video by Talon Clemow
Ned Hart (Australia)
VIDEOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Tim Bonython (Australia)
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