Winners and grinners at the 2014 Riptide Bodyboarder of the Year Awards.
Above: One of this year’s award winner, Lewy Finnegan, on what you – the readers – deemed the Heaviest Wave of the Year. Photo: Chris Gurney
Last night (Friday, December 5) we looked back on the past 12 months of bodyboarding and celebrated the sport’s standout performers and content-makers. And we did it in fine style (at the fricken Manly Novotel ballroom with mucho cervezas and a ton of fancy hors d oeuvres). Not only did Riptide crown its annual Bodyboarder of the Year Award winners, but the Australian Bodyboarding Association presented awards to a bunch of legends – both past and present – on top of the premiere of the star-studded new film, Royal Blood.
The night kicked off with the ABA’s awards, with Sunshine Coast’s Josh Keenan picking up the Rookie of the Year Award, women’s booging ledge Lilly Pollard taking out the Global Achievement Award (for being the highest-placed Aussie on the Women’s World Tour), Forster Tuncurry Bodyboarding Association prez and Jeff Wilcox Memorial director Aaron Dodds being honoured for his dedication to the Aussie bodyboarding community and Jake Stone being belatedly and officially crowned for winning the inaugural ABA Aussie Tour.
But the first part of the evening (and, let’s be honest, the whole night) was owned by the presence of two living legends – Steve “Bullet” MacKenzie and Adam “Wingnut” Smith – who were the 2014 inductees into the Australian Bodyboarding Hall of Fame. For the near 100-odd folks in the room it was an emotion-charged treat as their names were read out, spurring a lengthy standing ovation from everyone on hand. Wingnut spoke first and, although he admitted he was nervous as hell about public speaking, he spoke with passion and was visibly honoured to be receiving the award, which he dedicated to his bodyboarding passionate dad, who passed away more than a decade ago. Bullet was up next and his speech was equally moving and described his relationship with the sport over the years and what it means to be a bodyboarder. We won’t go too much into it here as it was lengthy, but we’re gonna track down a transcript for you soon because the words demand to be seen/heard.
Above: The affable Miller Best, creator of this year’s Best Short Film.
With the bar tickets now flowing freely, it was time for Riptide’s annual Bodyboarder of the Year Awards. We could speak for days on end about the achievements of each of the top rated nominees and winners, but instead we’ll list the winners below as well as the top nominee clips you might’ve spied on our feeds already. We were lucky enough to have Miller Best, James Kates, Lewy Finnegan and Bodyboarder of the Year winner Ben Player in the house to accept their awards (whose speeches varied considerably in sobriety), while the other five winners were notified secretly beforehand. Their acceptance videos were played to a frothing (and pretty loose) crowd. All in all it was a ripper night for bodyboarding – celebrating legends past and present, in Australia and around the world. We battled crashed computers, thunderstorms and trophies being sent to the wrong state, but we got there in the end – and we’ll be back bigger and better in 2015. We’ll also bring you more videos, images and stories from the night in the coming days and weeks, but like many who were in attendance last night – we’re pooped and best be off to bed. Congratulations to all those who took home awards, and big thanks to everyone who came out and supported the event, with an extra special thank you to the ABA crew (in particular Nick Chandler and Benny Oborne) for making the event happen. You guys and gals are all the best. Good. Night.
Bodyboarder of the Year – Ben Player (Australia)
Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year – Isabela Sousa (Brazil)
Dropkneer of the Year – Dave Hubbard (Hawaii)
Grom of the Year – Tanner McDaniel (Hawaii)
Heaviest Wave of the Year – Lewy Finnegan (Australia, at The Right, WA – from Riptide issue 197)
Biggest Move of the Year – Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii, at Honolua Bay, Maui – from Hubboards – The Movie)
Best Feature Film of the Year – Passing Through (James Kates/Le Boogie)
Best Short Film of the Year – The Mexican Mirage (Miller Best/Pride Bodyboards)
Photographer of the Year – Sacha Specker (South Africa)
Men’s Bodyboarder of the Year Top 10
1. Ben Player
2. Jared Houston
3. Pierre Louis Costes
4. Dave Winchester
5. Amaury Lavernhe
6. Mitch Rawlins
8. Jake Stone
9. Jeff Hubbard
10. Jase Finlay
Women’s Bodyboarder of the Year Top 5
1. Isabela Sousa
2. Lilly Pollard
3. Alexandra Rinder
4. Jessica Becker
5. Emma Cobb
Dropkneer of the Year Top 5
1. Dave Hubbard
2. Matt Lackey
3. Bud Miyamoto
4. Sacha Specker
5. Cesar Bauer
2014 Men’s Bodyboarder of the Year – Top 5
2014 Dropkneer of the Year – Top 5
2014 Biggest Move of the Year – Top 10
2014 Heaviest Wave of the Year – Top 10
2014 Women’s BBOTY of the Year – Top 5
2014 BBOTY Grom of the Year – Top 5