World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour Is On!

World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour Is On!

Makua Rothman Photo: Zack Noyle

The world’s best Big Wave surfers are on heightened alert as the World Surf League (WSL) commences the second phase of the 2015/2016 WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT) season. With a window running from October 15, 2015 to February 28, 2016, the remaining portion of the competition year focuses on the Northern Hemisphere swell cycle with the potential of running four world-class events at some of the most dangerous locations on the planet.

“I don’t think you will find a Big Wave surfer in the world who doesn’t believe this winter has a chance to be one of the greatest of all time,” said Peter Mel, former Big Wave World Champion and Commissioner of the WSL’s Big Wave Tour. “Everyone is training hard and preparing themselves physically and mentally for whatever the oceans have in store for us in the coming months. I surfed through the last two major El Niños in 1982/83 and 1997/98, and like anyone who experienced the surf in Hawaii or on the west coast will tell you, those seasons were legendary. If this winter even approaches those levels, it’s going to be a show not to be missed.”

The Oregon Challenge, Punta Galea Challenge, Pe’ahi Challenge and the Todos Santos Challenge comprise the upcoming Northern Hemisphere season and an expert meteorological team from, the official surf forecaster of the WSL, will track swell systems daily through the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, monitoring for the precise combination of conditions that will produce waves of 25-feet or higher with ideal winds.

Each event features a competitive field of the 24 best Big Wave surfers in the world, including the Top 10 finishers from the 2014/2015 BWT rankings, plus a diverse assortment of wildcards made up of local specialists and globally respected Big Wave legends. For a full list of competitors for each event, see the BWT section of the WSL website.

The Quiksilver Ceremonial at Punta Lobos in Chile was the only event during the Southern Hemisphere season to experience the required wave size to run. The event took place on Friday, May 1, 2015, where reigning WSL BWT Champion Makua Rothman (HAW) claimed victory and solidified his place at the top of the current BWT rankings.

All upcoming BWT events will be webcast LIVE at and via the WSL mobile app. In addition, the WSL recently announced a deal with Universal Sports that will give millions of fans in the US the opportunity -- conditions permitting -- to watch televised broadcasts of the following four heart-pounding Big Wave events.

Oregon Challenge: Lincoln City, Oregon

October 15, 2015 - February 28, 2016

Punta Galea Challenge: Punta Galea, Basque Country Spain

October 15, 2015 - February 28, 2016

Pe’ahi Challenge, Haiku, Hawaii (aka “Jaws”)

October 15, 2015 - February 28, 2016

Todos Santos Challenge: Ensenada, Mexico

October 15, 2015 - February 28, 2016

In addition to the Top Ten finishers in this year’s events, coveted spots on next year’s Big Wave Tour will also be awarded to the highest finishers in the Surfline Overall Performance Award category of the WSL Big Wave Awards. The Overall Performance Award recognizes the greatest rides captured on video throughout the course of the entire season -- outside of BWT competitions -- at the most incredible surf breaks around the world.

Following the conclusion of the winter’s action, the winners from both the WSL Big Wave Tour and WSL Big Wave Awards will be crowned at a gala ceremony in Southern California in April. Total prize money at stake across all WSL Big Wave competitions this winter will exceed $500,000.

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