The world’s best surfers hit the red carpet this weekend for the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Awards – the night that celebrates the achievements of the 2016 season, and officially opens the 2017 WSL Championship Tour year.
Accolades and awards were delivered to those who have contributed to the sport, including the Heat of the Year, Breakthrough Performers and, of course, the WSL Champions.
Heat of the Year: John John Florence (HAW) / Taj Burrow (AUS) in Fiji and Courtney Conlogue (USA) / Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) at Bells Beach
Move of the Year: Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Johanne Defay (FRA)
Wave of the Year: Kelly Slater (USA) and Carissa Moore (HAW)
WSL Junior Champions: Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Macy Callaghan (AUS)
WSL Longboard Champions: Phil Rajzman (BRA) and Tory Gilkerson (USA)
WSL Big Wave Tour Champions: Grant Baker (ZAF) and Paige Alms (HAW)
CT Breakthrough Performers: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
CT Rookies of the Year: Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Keely Andrew (AUS)
WSL Women’s Runner-Up: Courtney Conlogue (USA)
WSL Men’s Runner-Up: Jordy Smith (ZAF)
WSL Women’s Champion: Tyler Wright (AUS)
WSL Men’s Champion: John John Florence (HAW)
“Congratulations to all the winners this year,” Wright said during her acceptance speech. “I want to thank my tour family and the people I travel with. There is so much love in the surfing community and I am so lucky to be a part of it. Thank you to my family, and thank you to my mom. Thank you to the people who have raised me and supported me. Thank you to the people who have spent the time to notice and pay attention to the little things that are so easily looked over.”
“I just want to say it is really surreal being up here,” Florence said upon receiving the World Title. “This is something that I’ve thought about my entire life.
I could not have done this without all the support that I’ve had. I want to thank my mom and dedicate this to her. It is because of my mom that I am here. Thank you everyone for pushing me. It is an incredible time to be a part of surfing right now. Good luck to everyone this year.”
The 2017 WSL Championship Tour will commence with the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast from March 14 – 25, 2016.
The Corona JBay Open, stop 6 on the World Tour, will take place from 12 – 23 July in Jeffreys Bay.
The event forms part of the annual JBay Winterfest – a multi sport festival that takes place every July in Jeffreys Bay.