It’s about that time again. Every year since 1963, we’ve asked you, dear reader, to tell us who your favorite surfers in the world are (well, we took a 7-year break in the ’70s—all that long hair and smoke-filled office space must have made counting ballots a bridge too far). The winners you’ve chosen have spanned the entire surfing spectrum, from wild-eyed vagabonds and reclusive mystics to competitive savants and über athletes. And then, after the last vote was tallied, we threw a party.
The party itself has changed a lot over the years, from an small, comically straight-laced affair in San Clemente the early ’60s, to an oversized, occasionally out-of-control spectacle at a 4,000-person venue in Anaheim (interrupted speeches, bizarre rap acts, and streakers pervaded those strange years). Since 2010, we’ve returned to surfing’s roots and had our big bash at the true center of the surfing universe, on the North Shore of Oahu. We’ve changed the name (from the mouthful that was “The SURFER Poll and Video Awards” to just “SURFER Awards”), streamlined the show, added some cheeky skits, and brought in some jazzy live tunes. And we’ll keep making changes to make the biggest night in surfing even better.
One thing that hasn’t changed in 50 years is who picks the winners of the reader poll, and the importance that carries. Even among much-loved categories like Best Barrel and Movie of the Year, a SURFER Poll win remains the most prestigious achievement at the SURFER Awards. The list of past winners, which includes names like Edwards, Nuuhiwa, Hoffman, Tomson, Richards, Carroll, Zamba, Curren, Botha, Andersen, Slater, Irons, Beachley, Moore, and Florence, reads like the roster of a surfy Justice League, each member a larger-than-life hero in our culture.
Whether you’re a zinc-nosed grom or an 11-time world champion, your vote carries the same weight, and you can help decide who will be standing on the podium in Hawaii, holding a trophy that says their surfing has won us all over. So click here to cast your vote, tell us who your surf heroes are, and we’ll tell them on December 6th in Hawaii. See you at the party.
TODD PRODANOVICH, Editor