Currumbin surfer goes big

American Francisco Portello, on what many claim to be the biggest wave ridden, to receive this year's WSL XXL Biggest Wave award.
American Francisco Portello, on what many claim to be the biggest wave ridden, to receive this year's WSL XXL Biggest Wave award. Aleixo/ WSL


ELITE Currumbin surfer Jamie Mitchell is aiming to be the next WSL (World Surf League) Big Wave world champion.

The former 10-time consecutive Molokai to Ahu (Hawaii) paddling champion during the 90s, has been steadily building up his Big Wave reputation in the new millennium.

Mitchell was recently voted with best overall performance by his peers for the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards at a gala ceremony at the Pasea Hotel and Spa, Huntington Beach, California.

Mitchell claimed the Surfline Men's Overall Performance ward after showcasing incredible feats throughout the season, including his historic win at the inaugural Big Wave Tour (BWT) Nazaré Challenge, Portugal. It was his second win at the Big Wave Awards and further establishes his place in the history books.

"This really is dedicated to my wife and my little baby daughter at home,” Mitchell said.

"Thank you to everyone here. You all inspire me and push me to chase every swell and probably the ones that I shouldn't. I would like to thank all of my sponsors. Without the support of them, I would not be able to travel the world and chase all the swells.

"I really want to thank all the water patrols because I really love coming home to my family and we do some crazy stuff out there. I am honoured.”

Currumbin's Jamie Mitchell was voted as giving the best overall Big Wave performance of the year.
Currumbin's Jamie Mitchell was voted as giving the best overall Big Wave performance of the year. Laurent Masurel/WSL

Mitchell was also nominated for the Billabong Ride of the Year, but it was Billy Kemper who earned the big win. It was no surprise that the Maui local secured this year's title on a gigantic wave at Jaws, as this break saw him earn back-to-back BWT Pe'ahi Challenge events.

However, with fellow Big Wave Mavericks champion Peter Mel, Mitchell expressed his keen desire to be the next Big Wave world champion.

"My ultimate goal is to be next year's Big Wave world champion. I'm still learning so much but the win at Nazare has given me so much confidence,” he said in a recent Surfline interview.

"The younger guys are hungry, fit and working on surfing different boards, and different styles, approaching waves differently. I think it's awesome.”

Mitchell was referring to the latest Big Wave standout, Italian-born Francisco Portello who moved to Maui, Hawaii to familiarise himself with Peahi, known as Jaws. Australian movie maker and documenter of chasing big swells, Tim Bonython, said Franny established his big wave reputation at Jaws.

However it was at Nazare - arguably the world's biggest wave - where the Italian American blew minds with his award-winning wave that onlookers were calling 100ft on take-off. Bonython has captured that spine thrilling moment with superior filming for the big screen with his latest Big Wave movie titled the Big Wave Project, on June 9 at Coolangatta Cinemas.

Porcella received the XXL Biggest Wave Award for his ride at Nazaré, Portugal, his first-ever Big Wave award victory. The award is based on the surfer who, by any means available, catches and rides the biggest wave of the year. And when you see that 10-storey monster wave, no one would argue that he deserved the accolade.

"Thank you to Nazaré for that wave,” Porcella said.

"It has been a long time coming to be up here for the awards. I've been putting in my time and mother nature rewarded me that day with that wave.

It is a blessing to be connected with Mother Nature that way and feel that energy and power. That energy feeds us and makes us feel so alive in that moment. Thank you to my family and support crew.”

Topics:  big waves sport surfing surfscene surfscene with andy mac tweed sport wsl

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