The WSL Awards (A Quick Synopsis)
Let’s pretend to be serious for a moment…
Oh, the glitz and glamour. Steph Gilmore in a striking black number with spaghetti straps. John John in a tie and jacket. The annual WSL Awards show is where everyone gets all prettied up, flashbulbs pop and pro surfing tries to take themselves seriously before the tour season begins.
“To see everyone dress up, it’s pretty rare for us,” smiled Matty Wilkinson, donning a crushed red velvet sport coat with black labels, matching bow tie and black shirt. His hair and scruff was vaguely Nick Cage in Raising Arizona.
“It also makes us feel kind of like we’re celebrities for once, not just crusty lips and blond hair,” said Kolohe Andino, rocking a Joe Dirt-esq beard and crisp white shirt/sport coat combo.
Red carpet batter’s both fun and placating, but the show inside was perhaps more compelling.
“I love listening to the stories and the speeches of the champions,” described Steph from the red carpet.
Veiled in political correctness, we suspect she’d much prefer to be the one giving the speech.
“If I got three waves [nominated] and didn’t win, I kind of kooked it,” said Kelly, who won Wave of the Year.
The heat of the year went to John John and Taj Burrow for their back-and-forth at Cloudbreak last season. John John also collected his first, and probably not last, world title trophies.
“Kelly and Mick and Joel, you guys are my idols, and to be surfing heats against you is incredible. It’s crazy to be surfing against your idols, it’s something I’ve kind of had to overcome,” said John John to a rousing standing ovation.
Tyler Wright, who looked downright stunning in a low-cut gown, blushed and smiled in front of the audience.
“There is so much love in the surfing community and I am so lucky to be a part of it,” she beamed. “Thank you to my family, and thank you to my mom. Thank you to the people who have raised me and supported me. Thank you to the people who have spent the time to notice and pay attention to the little things that are so easily looked over.”
The pleasantries are now over with. In a couple of days the 2017 Championship Tour kicks off and judging by how uncomfortable everyone appeared to be in their formalwear, it’ll be nice to get back into some boardshorts.
Heat of the Year: John John Florence / Taj Burrow in Fiji and Courtney Conlogue / Sally Fitzgibbons at Bells Beach
Move of the Year: Filipe Toledo and Johanne Defay
Wave of the Year: Kelly Slater and Carissa Moore
WSL Junior Champions: Ethan Ewing and Macy Callaghan
WSL Longboard Champions: Phil Rajzman and Tory Gilkerson
WSL Big Wave Tour Champions: Grant Baker and Paige Alms
CT Breakthrough Performers: Matt Wilkinson and Tatiana Weston-Webb
CT Rookies of the Year: Caio Ibelli and Keely Andrew
WSL Women’s Runner-Up: Courtney Conlogue
WSL Men’s Runner-Up: Jordy Smith
WSL Women’s Champion: Tyler Wright
WSL Men’s Champion: John John Florence
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