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Maui’s Kai Lenny Nominated for 2021 Red Bull Big Wave Awards

October 10, 2021, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated October 8, 11:54 AM
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Maui’s Kai Lenny was nominated in all four categories of the 2021 Red Bull Big Wave Awards, with the winners being announced Oct. 29. Screen shot of Red Bull video

The World Surf League released the official list of nominees for the 2021 Red Bull Big Wave Awards, with Maui native Kai Lenny nominated in all four categories: Ride of the Year, Biggest Paddle, Biggest Tow and Performer of the Year.

Many of the nominated rides come from Mauiʻs infamous big wave break Pe’ahi, also known as Jaws. Other nominated rides came from the world’s well-known big breaks, including Nazaré in Portugal, Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, CA, Todos Santos in Mexico and Mullaghmore Head in Ireland.

Red Bull is awarding $350,000 in prize money across four categories for men’s and women’s divisions. Winning photographers and videographers also will take home prize money. 

This year’s nominees spanned the globe with surfers representing countries that included Brazil, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, France and the United States. The winners will be announced during the 2021 Red Bull Big Wave Awards Show on Oct. 29. The show will be streamed at WorldSurfLeague.com/redbullbigwaveawards

Ride of the Year

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The Ride of the Year is awarded to the male and female surfers who demonstrate the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded. 

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Female Nominees

  • Paige Alms at Todos Santos, Mexico on Jan. 11, 2021. 
  • Michelle des Bouillons at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 22, 2021. 
  • Justine Dupont at Nazaré, Portugal on Jan. 16, 2021.
  • Maya Gabeira at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 5, 2021. 
  • Izzi Gomez at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Keala Kennelly at Himalayas, Hawaiʻi on Dec. 2, 2020. 

Male Nominees

  • Conor Maguire at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland on Oct. 28, 2020.
  • Grant Baker at Mavericks, California on Dec. 11, 2020. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020.  
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Peter Mel at Mavericks, California on Jan. 8, 2021. 
  • Billy Kemper at Jaws, Hawaii on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Eli Olson at Jaws, Hawaii on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Vinicius dos Santos at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 22, 2021. 
  • Kalani Chapman at Outer Reef Log Cabins, Hawaiʻi on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Wilem Banks at Mavericks, California on Dec. 8, 2020. 

Biggest Paddle

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The Biggest Paddle Award goes to the male and female surfers who paddle into, and successfully ride, the biggest wave of the year. 

Female Nominees

  • Bianca Valenti at Mavericks, California on Jan. 12, 2021. 
  • Justine Dupont at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 17, 2021. 
  • Keala Kennelly at Himalayas, Hawaiʻi on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Justine Dupont at Mavericks, California on Dec. 8, 2020. 
  • Paige Alms at Todos Santos, Mexico on Jan. 11, 2021. 
  • Raquel Heckert at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 17, 2021. 

Male Nominees

  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020.
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020.
  • Kai Lenny at Mavericks, California on Dec. 8, 2020. 
  • Peter Mel at Mavericks, California on Dec. 8, 2020. 
  • Peter Mel at Mavericks, California on Jan. 8, 2021. 
  • Grant Baker at Mavericks, California on Dec. 11, 2020. 
  • Billy Kemper at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Nathan Florence at Jaws, Maui on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Vinicius dos Santos at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 22, 2021. 
  • Ian Walsh at Jaws, Mauii on Dec. 2, 2020. 
  • Wilem Banks at Mavericks, California on Jan. 10, 2021. 

This year’s nominees include big names like 2018 Big Wave World Champion Keala Kennelly of Hawaiʻi and world-renowned Big Wave charger Justine Dupont of France.

Men’s nominees include three-time Big Wave World Surfing Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from South Africa and four-time Pe’ahi Challenge Champion Billy Kemper leading the charge with rides at Mavericks and Jaws, respectively. 

Biggest Tow

The Biggest Tow Award goes to the male and female surfers who, by any means available, catch and ride the biggest wave of the year. 

Female Nominees

  • Maya Gabeira at Nazaré, Portugal on Oct. 29, 2020. 
  • Maya Gabeira at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 5, 2021. 
  • Justine Dupont at Mavericks, California on Jan. 1, 2021. 
  • Justine Dupont at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Justine Dupont at Nazaré, Portugal on Oct. 29, 2020. 
  • Michelle des Bouillons at Nazaré, Portugal on Feb. 22, 2021. 

Male Nominees

  • Conor Maguire at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland on Oct. 28, 2020. 
  • Kalani Chapman at Outer Reef Log Cabins, Hawai’i on Jan. 1, 2021. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Kai Lenny at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Ian Walsh at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Sebastian Steudtner at Nazaré, Portugal on Oct. 29, 2020. 
  • Sebastian Steudtner at Nazaré, Portugal on Oct. 29, 2020. 
  • Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca at Nazaré, Portugal on Oct. 29, 2020. 
  • Makua Rothman at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Nathan Florence at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 
  • Francisco Porcella at Jaws, Maui on Jan. 16, 2021. 

The Biggest Tow Award for women will be a battle between Justine Dupont of France, Maya Gabeira of Brazil and Michelle des Bouillons of France. Last year Dupont and Gabeira went head-to-head for a new World Record with the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman, with Gabeira edging out Dupont with a stellar ride at Nazaré. This year, Dupont’s nominations span three locations for the category, including Mavericks, Jaws and Nazaré. 

Performer of the Year

The Performer of the Year Award acknowledges the top-performing male and female surfers over the course of the last 12 months based on every ride captured on video or still images. 

Female Nominees

  • Justine Dupont
  • Keala Kennelly
  • Maya Gabeira
  • Paige Alms
  • Michelle des Bouillons
  • Raquel Heckert

Male Nominees

  • Kai Lenny
  • Peter Mel
  • Conor Maguire
  • Grant Baker
  • Sebastian Steudtner
  • Ian Walsh
  • Nathan Florence
  • Eli Olson
  • Billy Kemper
  • Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca
  • Makua Rothman
  • Vinicius dos Santos

To watch all the nominated rides, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com/bigwaveawards

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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