ASP takes over XXL Global Big Wave Awards

Miguel Barreira/AP

Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle rides a big wave at the Praia do Norte, north beach, outside the fishing village of Nazare on Portugal's Atlantic coast. He's earned an XXL nomination for "Biggest Wave.

In the ever-expanding reach of the Association of Surfing Professionals, it was announced today that the governing body of professional surfing will take ownership of the XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

For 15 years, the XXL Awards, which are sponsored by surf wear brand Billabong, have set the bar for big-wave surfing. The hope is that the new relationship with the ASP, who already owns the Big Wave World Tour, will continue to popularize the sport of big-wave surfing.

"These are exciting times in big-wave surfing," remarked former big wave world champion and XXL winner Greg Long. "I look forward to surfing and working alongside the ASP and building a bright future for our sport."

While still unclear what the transition will mean for the future of the XXL Awards and the Big Wave World Tour and how exactly they will co-habitat, from a media standpoint the partnership strengthens the hand of the ASP in the world of heavy-water surfing.

The awards recognize the biggest paddle-in wave ridden, biggest wave ridden, a men's and women's performance award, as well as awards for worst wipeout, biggest tube, and ride of the year. Originally intended to document the waves of the North Pacific, today entries come in from all over the world, including, Hawaii, California, Europe, Australia, and the South Pacific.

"This is a platform to honor the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to the art of big wave surfing and we are honored to continue this tradition in future years," said ASP CEO Paul Speaker in a prepared press statement.

Founded by Bill Sharp in 2000, the ASP will take ownership of the XXL Awards after the 2014 awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday in Anaheim, Calif. Billabong will retain its position as the title sponsor, but after losing a number of supporting sponsors in recent years, the ASP is hoping to bring new money to the table.

"We see potential synergies all the way around, for the ASP, the surfers, sponsors, and the media," said CEO Jonno Wells. Surfline will remain the event's official forecast service, as well as sponsor of the men's overall performance award . "The XXL with the BWWT makes a nice package, it's mostly the same athletes. For the world at large, big wave surfing is easy to understand and exciting to watch. The ASP's goal is to generate more fans of professional surfing world-wide. Exciting, well-packaged, professional sports events attract audiences, which attracts sponsor support for big-wave pros and events."

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