San Juan Capistrano-based big wave surfer Nathan Fletcher, 35, was the top prize winner at the 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards last month at the Grove Theater in Anaheim.
Fletcher won the coveted Ride of the Year award and the $50,000 prize that comes with it for his massive August 27 tube ride at Teahupo’o in Tahiti. The same ride got him nominated for the $5,000 Monster Tube award, which he was presented with as well. A third honor—the Surfline Best Performance award—was also given to Fletcher making him the first surfer in the history of the Billabong XXL to take three titles in the same year and bringing his total winnings up to $60,000.
Fletcher expressed surprise at the trio of honors saying he didn’t expect to be up for one award, much less three.
“It’s a huge honor. I didn’t expect that out of myself,” said Fletcher at the event. “The wave at Teahupo’o was pure fate. Somehow it just popped up and I was the one who got it. Somehow, I’m not sure, maybe Sion (Sion Milosky was a former award winner who drowned in 2011) gave it to me. I can’t believe it. I guess it is all the result of hard work and I am very appreciative of that.”
Greg Long of San Clemente, who was also in the running for Ride of the Year, took third place honors and $1,500 for a giant wave he paddled into May 19 at Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
For full results, photos and videos of all the nominees, log on to www.billabongxxl.com.