Tyler Hollmer-Cross makes finals of Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards!
All around the world, Tyler Hollmer-Cross is fast becoming a household name for big-wave surfing. And although the 25 year-old stretches 6’5 tall, the waves he surfs still manage to look enormous – the biggest in the world, in fact.
Tyler walked away with the Biggest Slab Award at the national Oakley Big Wave Awards in February this year, which measures the biggest waves ridden throughout Australasia. His winning wave was none other than the ‘wave of the day’ at Shipsterns Bluff back in May 2011; and it is this wave that has carried him into the top 5 finalists for the Monster Tube Award at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards 2011-12 (to be held in California, in May).
Sponsored by Quiksilver since 15 and one of the youngest to ever ride Shipsterns at 16 years of age, you’d think this guy would have a head on him as big as the waves he surfs. But if you thought this, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Ty is so laid back he’s almost horizontal. He earns a crust painting and rendering and saving up for surf trips (recently one to South Africa with his girlfriend, which meant he couldn’t be at the Oakleys to receive his award).
While painting a bathroom he fills me in on where he’s at, after just finding out about making the top 5…
Congrats on becoming a finalist, Ty!
How are you feeling?
Pretty stoked! It’s been my goal for about three or four years now. Feels pretty sick to win the Aussie one and then make it to the XXL Awards too!
How do you reckon you’ll fair up against the other finalists? (Kohl Christensen @ Cloudbreak, Fiji; Nathan Fletcher @ Teahupoo, Tahiti; Bruce Irons @ Teahupoo, Tahiti; and Everaldo Teixeira @ Teahupoo, Tahiti)
I’ve measured all of our waves and I think mine’s one of the biggest but I suppose the Teahuppo waves have more volume. It was a giant swell that hit Tahiti that day and it was covered from every angle; so those waves will be pretty hard to beat.
Is your wave up there with the biggest you’ve ever ridden?
I’d say it is the biggest wave I’ve ever ridden, but not the scariest. I don’t remember details because of all the adrenalin, but I knew it was big. I was just looking at my feet hoping my board wouldn’t grab. I was pin-balled when I came out – never been thrown so hard. I was frothing after it though; it was a pretty amazing feeling.
Did you realise how big it was when you were in it?
I didn’t know until I saw the photos and the footage. Seeing your waves captured on film really adds to the feeling you remember. It’s good to have a photographer there to snap you in these extreme positions; it makes it even more worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong though, if there isn’t a camera, I’m still heading out for a surf! I do it for the love of it. I reckon you’re in it for the wrong reasons if you’re just after cash or exposure.
Yes indeedy, in the world of big-wave surfing, surfers and media go hand in hand. It’s all about riding the biggest, the heaviest waves and even getting spectacular wipe-outs on them too, but you’ve gotta have the evidence! Andrew Chisholm provided the proof for Tyler’s wave (pictured left). For the Monster Tube Award, the winning surfer wins $5k and the photographer claims $2k.