Photo by FL Morris / email@example.com
Andy Irons' brother and professional surfer Bruce Irons, middle, poses for a picture with Mia Irons and fellow pro Sunny Garcia. Andy Irons was mentioned repeatedly by winners throughout the night; he also placed sixth in the annual poll, voted on by readers of Surfer Magazine. Click here for more pictures.
BY DANIEL IKAIKA ITO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
The Surfer Poll Awards is the one excuse on the North Shore — besides a wedding or funeral — to wear that custom suit you bought in Bali.
Or, for young female pro surfers to attempt wearing high heels.
The international surf community converged on Turtle Bay Resort for the 40th annual Surfer Poll Awards on Monday. Surfer Magazine conducts the annual poll, allowing the general public to vote for their favorite wave riders and surf movies. The awards banquet is the biggest and brightest night in the sport, honoring athletes and films that have made an impact on the global surf consciousness during the past year.
Professional surfer Fred Patacchia and ESPN’s Sal Masekela hosted the show, which was broadcast live online.
The best speeches of the night were from those who didn’t win — Dane “I Cussed Numerous Times On Stage” Reynolds and Carissa “I’m Only 18, But I’m Probably More Mature Than You” Moore. The 2010 World Champions, Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore, were both voted into the number one positions among the top 10 male surfers and top 5 female surfers of 2010, respectively.
“It’s really exciting to have the Surfer Poll Awards at home this year,” said Moore from the red carpet shortly after her arrival. “I was kind of skeptical because we had it at the theater in Los Angeles and that was super sick, but I’m stoked that it’s at Turtle Bay and it’s turing out pretty sick so far.”
This was the first time the Surfer Poll awards were held in Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. It was a grand production, running the length of a hallway and out into a spacious outdoor cocktail area in addition to the ballroom the awards were presented in.
As with any show of this size, there are always technical difficulties.
“It was like being towed into a closeout,” said North Shore big wave surfer and red carpet co-host Mark Healey about headset battery malfunctions throughout the webcast. Despite the minor glitches, Healey was perhaps the best-dressed dude in the house, sporting a salmon-collared, tailored suit and custom snakeskin loafers from Bali.
After everything had wrapped up Monday night, Slater echoed the same sentiment as Moore about the venue change — especially with the surfing community still mourning the death of three-time ASP World Champ Andy Irons.
“It was cool,” Slater said. “It was a little bit mellower. Anaheim gets a little bit out of control and you get a different crowd there.
"It’s obviously a bittersweet time and the night was really about Andy, so I think (that) kept everyone really focused."
Photo by Jason Genegabus / firstname.lastname@example.org
THE AWARDS ceremony was the first time in a decade that Irons, who died last month, was not in attendance.
But whether it was his brother, Bruce, accepting Irons’ sixth place Surfer Poll award, or 10-time ASP World Champ Slater accepting his first place Surfer Poll award and telling a story about Andy surfing against Layne Beachley, A.I. was the man of the evening. He won the award for Best Barrel with his ride in “High-5” and even helped present another, thanks to pre-recorded video filmed before his death.
“I think his presence will always be felt here in Hawaii,” said Fred Patacchia about Irons. “Like (Kai “Borg” Garcia) said in a tribute video aired during the awards, ‘It’s like he’s still here.’
“It’s like any minute now he’s going to walk through those doors and be like, ‘What’s up, suckas? Why are you looking so bummed for?”
2010 Surfer Poll Winners:
Heavy Water Award: Jamie O'Brien ("Who is J.O.B.")
Best Cinematography Award: Taylor Steele ("Castles in the Sky")
Worst Wipeout Award: Derek Dunfee ("Down with the Ship")
Best Maneuver Award: Jordy Smith ("Modern Collective")
Best Performance Award: Jamie O'Brien ("Who is J.O.B.")
Digital Short of the Year Award: Allan Wilson and Mickey Smith, "Dark Side of the Lens"
Breakthrough Performance Award: Craig Anderson
Best Barrel: Andy Irons ("High-5")
Agent of Change Award: Mauli Ola Foundation
Best Documentary Award: "Sea of Darkness"
Movie of the Year: "Modern Collective," directed by Kai Neville (pictured above)
Top 10 Male Surfers
1. Kelly Slater (pictured above) - “I don’t think you come up here and not have your heart pounding out of your chest. I don’t care how many times you’ve won this and stood in front of this microphone.”
2. Dane Reynolds - “Two is pretty high. It’s really funny to be accepting award like this in Hawaii. I surfed V-Land today and felt like a grom. I was on the bottom of the pecking order, fighting with 12-year old kids for waves. I barely surf Pipe other than my heats because I don’t really get waves. It makes sense winning awards like this at Trestles because I do airs and stuff, but it’s super funny winning one like this in Hawaii.”
3. Jordy Smith - “Thank you to my family and everybody here tonight.”
4. Mick Fanning - “I’d like to thank the ocean and Hawaiians, for giving us a reason to go surfing.”
5. Taj Burrow - “I just want to say Surfer Poll is one of my most favorite nights because of all those video clips.”
6. Andy Irons (Accepted by his brother, Bruce Irons) - "My brother loved surfing more than anybody I know. I know it's hard, but ... he'd want everyone to have a good time and enjoy tonight. I want to thank you all."
7. Rob Machado - “Wow. Much props to Surfer Magazine. It’s really special to be here in Hawaii, the birthplace (of) surfing. It’s an honor to be in this group of people.”
8. Joel Parkinson - "I spent most of the year sitting on the couch, so I’m ... stoked to be back up here this year.”
9. Julian Wilson - “I’m truly honored to accept this trophy. I came to Hawaii and I had a stellar year.”
10. Owen Wright - “Thanks for 10th place. It’s probably the lowest placing I’ve ever had, (but) it’s definitely a big honor anyway.”
Top 5 Female Surfers:
1. Stephanie Gilmore (pictured above) - “Kelly, you had an amazing year, but this one is for Andy.”
2. Carissa Moore - "This year was a big year for me. I graduated high school, I turned 18, and I got my driver's license!"
3. Coco Ho - "Surfer Poll is finally here in Hawaii, and I hope my dad made it from the bar to listen to me."
4. Sofia Mulanovich - “Everyone here is amazing.”
5. Alana Blanchard - “Hi, everyone. Thanks ... for voting.”