A ballroom full of surfers, surf-industry professionals and their families turned out at the Turtle Bay Resort on Sunday night to see Hawaii’s John John Florence and Carissa Moore named top male and female surfers in the annual Surfer Poll awards.
Florence, 23, took home an armful of awards, including movie of the year for his 2015 film “View From a Blue Moon,” based on his adventures surfing around the world.
Though Florence was bested by victor Mick Fanning at last week’s Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, the second event in the Triple Crown of Surfing, the online poll conducted by Surfer Magazine recognizes popularity as well as performance — and Florence was clearly the poll’s most popular surfer.
The Australian Fanning was named the No. 3 top male surfer, while Kelly Slater, an 11-time ASP World Tour Champion, came in at the second spot in the Surfer Poll.
“We’ve got to take care of each other,” said Florence, thanking voters and fellow surfers for his awards.
Many of the athletes, including Florence, made reference to Evan Geiselman, a 22-year-old professional surfer who was hospitalized Sunday after a wipeout in monster waves at Pipeline.
The 43-year-old 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 in an airplane restroom on a flight to Hawaii.
The 23-year-old Moore, who was crowned the ASP Women’s World Tour Champion last week, said She’s had an “incredible year.” The world title is her third. She also won in 2011 and 2013.
In a touching scene on stage, Brazil’s Filipe Toledo, who at 20 is the youngest surfer on tour, was presented with the Andy Irons Breakthrough Performer Award by the late Irons’ son, Axel, who then hugged the young pro.
Axel, born just over a month after Irons death from heart failure in 2010, turned 5 today.
Today is also the first day of the waiting period for the Billabong Pipe Masters at Ehukai Beach Park. The Pipe Masters is the third and final competition of the annual 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.
Winner of the poll’s Heavy Water award, Jamie Mitchell, 38, 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.” He 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.
Six-time Triple Crown winner Sunny Garcia, clean-shaven and dressed in a smart suit, was a host and spoke generously of being honored to have seen so many younger surfers — including Florence — as they rose in the rankings. Garcia, still a powerful surfer at 45, told the audience, “Retirement is overrated.”
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 John Florence, “View From A Blue Moon”
Heavy Water: Jamie Mitchell
Agent of Change: North Shore Land Trust
A.I. Breakthrough Performance: Filipe Toledo