Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, Jordy Smith and Brendon Gibbens were among the surfing stars honoured at the annual Surfer Poll, hosted by Surfer magazine in Hawaii on Saturday evening.
Kelly and John John greet each other on the red carpet at Surfer Poll.
Surfer Poll awards the most influential surfers in the world according to public perception, and we were stoked to see some South Africans in the mix and flying the flag globally.
Twiggy was the first (of the Saffas) to be announced a winner at the red carpet awards function. The KZN charger topped the list of the world’s most daring and skilled big wave riders, taking out the ‘Heavy Water’ award.
“Wow, I beat Shane Dorian…that’s amazing”, said Twiggy as he began his acceptance speech. He then gave thanks to the Hawaiian charger for pushing the levels of big wave surfing, before dedicating his award to all the people around the world pushing the levels of water safety – without whom Twiggy admits they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.
Twiggy was stoked to receive the ‘Heavy Water’ award.
The Top 10 best surfers in the world are also awarded at the annual Surfer Poll, and Jordy Smith was announced as Number 5 – ahead of Dane Reynolds in sixth and one behind current world champ, Mick Fanning, who claimed fourth.
“I can go on my knees maybe,” joked Jordy as he crouched down to speak into the microphone to accept his award. He kept his speech short.
Jordy thanked his sponsors, the fans for giving him their vote, and his wife, Lyndall.
Many drinks later on in the evening, the winner for ‘Movie of the Year’ was announced. Brendon Gibbens was among the crew that took to the stage when ‘Strange Rumblings in Shangri La’ was declared the winner, along with Joe G (the producer) and fellow cast; Damien Hobgood, Dion Agius, Noa Deane, Creed McTaggert and Alex Smith. The Capetonian was looking for a quick exit after Noa Deane – the most decorated surfer of the evening having won two categories – uttered some expletives into the microphone directed at the governing body of professional surfing globally.
Noa Deane silenced the crowd while on stage for ‘Movie of the Year’.
Hosts for the evening, Occy and Gerry Lopez, remarked how that was going to be a hard act to follow after returning to the stage. Kelly then joked that the bar had in fact been set very low, as he accepted his award for finishing second in the Surfer Poll – the first time he has dropped from the top for a decade.
John John Florence claimed the evening’s most prestigious award, finishing first in the Surfer Poll. Dressed in a tux and looking relaxed ahead of the Pipe Masters, John John was stoked on his announcement as the world’s most influential surfer.
John John and Steph, stoked winners of this year’s Surfer Poll.
Having recently won her sixth world title at the Target Maui Pro, Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore took top honours in the Women’s poll. She finished ahead of world title challengers, Sally Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore.
Go to surfermag.com/surferpoll to watch the full show or highlights from the 2014 Surfer Poll Awards.
SURFER Poll Men’s Top 10:
1. John John Florence
2. Kelly Slater
3. Gabriel Medina
4. Mick Fanning
5. Jordy Smith
6. Dane Reynolds
7. Joel Parkinson
8. Julian Wilson
9. Kolohe Andino
10. Taj Burrow
SURFER Poll Women’s Top 5:
1. Stephanie Gilmore
2. Sally Fitzgibbons
3. Carissa Moore
4. Coco Ho
5. Alana Blanchard
A.I. Breakthrough Performer:
Koa Smith, Skeleton Bay
Myron Porter, The Right
Grant “Twiggy” Baker
Thundercloud, directed by Talon Clemow
Cheese II, directed by Noa Deane and Shane Fletcher
Albee Layer in Attractive Distractions
Movie of the Year
Strange Rumblings in Shangri La, directed by Joe G