Stab Magazine | ASP Acquires Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards
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ASP Acquires Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards

Hey, the ASP just bought the Billabong XXL Awards. Synergy! Sweet synergy! Are there any heroes in surfing more unsung than the gents who ride big waves? And how about the bizarre state of play wherein the surfing discipline that holds most heft when it comes to mainstream crossover appeal, has traditionally been afforded the […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hey, the ASP just bought the Billabong XXL Awards. Synergy! Sweet synergy!

Are there any heroes in surfing more unsung than the gents who ride big waves? And how about the bizarre state of play wherein the surfing discipline that holds most heft when it comes to mainstream crossover appeal, has traditionally been afforded the least coverage and funding? Brighten up tho, because the new ASP, which can’t stop and won’t stop growing, continues its steps towards a brighter spotlight bouncing off the chests of those who scratch into 25-and-above-footers.

The Billabong XXL Awards, being the Paddle Award, Biggest Wave Award, Men’s and Women’s Performance Award, Wipeout Award, Biggest Tube Award and, of course, Ride of the Year, will now fly under the ASP banner, where its kinda sister from another mister, the Big Wave World Tour, already lives and breathes with no regrets and no rear view mirror.

All parties involved are thrilled by the joining of their entities: ASP CEO Paul Speaker, Billabong Brand President Shannan North, ASP CMO Graham Stapelberg, and XXL Big Wave Awards founder Bill Sharp, with heavy handed use of the word ‘honour’, each expressed the ways in which this acquisition is for the better – and they’re all spot on. The more parts of big wave surfing that are curated under the one banner, the stronger the discipline – and surrounding aura – will become. Big Wave Surfing needs this unity. It needs to leverage the ASP’s reach. It’s a loud sport, and it needs a louder voice.

After 15 years of operation, this is perhaps the biggest step for the XXL Awards. Held annually at the Grove Theatre in Anaheim, with the 2014 event going down this very friday (what a timely announcement this is!), we’ll also see the official crowning of last season’s ASP BWWT Champ, Grant ’Twiggy’ Baker.

Since it’s his baby, we’ll offer some pixels to Bill Sharp who first pulled the XXL Awards together a decade and a half ago:

“When I created the XXL concept in the 1990s, big wave surfing did not seem to get the respect it deserved. That was when action sports on TV was the new big thing. But I feel like the XXL Big Wave Awards, working so closely with the surfers and the photographers for the last 15 years, have helped to show the world how incredible the sport truly is and now a huge swell hitting anywhere in the world will routinely make global headlines. We have achieved a lot so far, but I think there is more work to do and I look forward to pushing hard to expand the opportunities for the sport and for all the top surfers and photographers involved.”

Healey_watermark

Mark Healey and the kinda wave that deserves all the attention it can get.

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