Freestyle: Top surfers recognized at Surfer Poll
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
A ballroom full of surfers, surf-industry professionals and their families turned out at the Turtle Bay Resort on Sunday night to see John John Florence and Carissa Moore named top male and female surfers, as chosen by an online vote conducted by Surfer magazine. It was the sixth year in Hawaii for the annual Surfer Poll Awards.
Florence took home an armful of awards, including Best Performance and the Surfer Poll Movie of the Year win for his 2015 film “View From a Blue Moon,” based on his adventures surfing around the world.
Though Florence had recently been bested by victor Mick Fanning at the Triple Crown of Surfing’s second event, the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, the poll recognizes popularity as well as performance – and Florence was clearly the poll’s most popular surfer.
Fanning was named the No. 3 male surfer in the poll. Kelly Slater, an 11-time ASP World Tour Champion who was long the poll’s top-ranked surfer, was voted in at No. 2.
“We’ve got to take care of each other,” said Florence, at the podium, thanking voters and his fellow surfers for his awards.
Many of the surfers, including Florence, made reference to surfer Evan Geiselman, who had been hospitalized Sunday after a wipeout in monster waves at Pipeline.
Slater did not appear at the awards ceremony, for the first time in more than a decade. “Thank you, for all the support all these years,” he said, in a self-made video filmed on a plane, on the way to Hawaii.CARISSA Moore, who was crowned the ASP Women’s World Tour Champion last week, giving her a third world-champion’s title to add to her wins in 2011 and 2013, said it was an “incredible year.”
In a touching scene on stage, Brazil’s Filipe Toledo, the youngest surfer on tour, was handed the Andy Irons Breakthrough Performer Award by the late Irons’ son, Axel, who then hugged the young pro. The award was presented by Andy’s widow, Lyndie Dupuis, and brother Bruce.
Axel, who was born just over a month after Irons death from heart failure in 2010, turns 5 on Dec. 8, which is also the first day of the Billabong Pipe Masters waiting period at Ehukai Beach Park, on Oahu’s North Shore. The Pipe Masters is the third and final competition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Toledo, who earned the Breakthrough award for his hard-charging, fearless attacks, was also a newcomer to the Surfer Poll Top 10, landing at No. 8.
Heavy Water poll award-winner Jamie Mitchell, who accepted his honor via video because, he said, “I’m probably on a plane to Mavericks; it looks like it’s going to be a big swell,” earned big applause for his big-wave feats so far in 2015.
“The swell awaits us, so be safe out there,” he said.
The North Shore Community Land Trust received the Agent of Change award for its work to preserve the rural character of Oahu’s North Shore.
2015 SURFER Poll Results
No. 1 – John Florence
No. 2 – Kelly Slater
No. 3 – Mick Fanning
No. 4 – Julian Wilson
No. 5 – Gabriel Medina
No. 6 – Owen Wright
No. 7 – Dane Reynolds
No. 8 – Filipe Toledo
No. 9 – Kolohe Andino
No. 10 – Joel Parkinson
Women’s Poll Winners:
No. 1 – Carissa Moore
No. 2 – Sally Fitzgibbons
No. 3 – Coco Ho
No. 4 – Stephanie Gilmore
No. 5 – Alana Blanchard
Movie of the Year: “View From A Blue Moon” (Blake Kueny and John Florence)
Best Performance: John Florence, “View From A Blue Moon”
Best Short: “Sampler” (Marine Layer)
Best Documentary: “The Fisherman’s Son” (Chris Malloy)
Best Web Series: “#Tournotes” (Peter King)
Worst Wipeout: Niccolo Porcella, Teahupo’o
Best Barrel: Nathan Florence, Teahupoo
Best Maneuver: John Florence, “View From A Blue Moon”
Heavy Water: Jamie Mitchell
Agent of Change: North Shore Land Trust
A.I. Breakthrough Performance: Filipe Toledo