Saturday, April 12, 2008

Billabong XXL Awards Dinner

What a day, what a night!

It started with a drive down from Hermosa to San Clemente for a barbeque at Greg Long's place. Unfortunately we drove a little too far past his place and on to an American armed forces base, but I can assure you we were quickly ushered back out again.

At the house we enjoyed a few beers and a thousand pizza's while we talked about the biggest sessions of the year.

Greg was nominated for Monster Paddle and Overall Performance Awards, both of which he won on the night.

When we arrived it sunk in just how big the awards dinner were, with a line stretching back around building.

We wandered up towards the red carpet and ran into the ESPN crew that we'd met a few days earlier and Sam George walked us up to pick up our tickets.

Although we didn't know it at the time, but this is where we messed up a little.

We head inside the gates and stolled up the red carpet along side such surfing greats as Brad Gerlach, Shane Dorian and Mike Parsons (not to mention Al Mennie and Duncan Scott).

We headed inside and caught up with Al, Kelly and Cotty, and together with Duncan and Hannah we headed inside to watch the show.

We were a little late getting in so we didn't have a row of seats for us to sit down, so we stood at the back of our section and watched the show kick off.

It was amazing to see the year in review on the big screen, and to hear the crowd screaming with excitement at some of the biggest waves, closest escapes, and worse wipe outs.

Two of the best moments during the awards was to see my name come up in the video credits for the Ireland segment, and also when Occy (host for the evening) mentioned Al and Duncan's name and how great it was that they'd brought Ireland to the Big Wave Surfing World Stage.

After all of the Awards were awarded, all of the speeches spoken and the drinks well drunk we headed back towards the red carpet to board the fun bus for a trip back to Greg Long's place.

Just before we left we bumped into one of Duncan's friends who was supposed to be joining us only to find out that we were given the wrong wrist tags, and that we had a table up in the front section with our names on it and all. Apparently it had a sign saying "Reserved for Ireland Surfers and Videographers"

Oh well, there's always next year.

Next year will be a better year again. The boys are going to be heading to the Canaries and Oregon for the Tow in competition, while we will also be waiting throughout next winter for another swell like the December 1st Mullaghmore session. Duncan has just shipped his ski back and is moving over to South Africa for the winter and is hoping to get a couple of good sessions at Dungeons. I've got the camera in at SPL Water Housing which means no more comfort of the land shooting, time to get in amoungst it and get that classic Teahupoo angle down the barrel.

All in all it was an awesome night and something I hope to be able to repeat in the years to come.

Cotty, Occy and Al

Me and Duncan at the Awards

Inside the Awards

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