Join us for the official premiere on Thursday, May 10th at 7pm inside Island Water Sports at 1985 NE 2nd Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441 and meet pro surfer Cory Lopez


The Contest Concept

Wave of the Winter is an annual contest sponsored by O’Neill and Surfline. It celebrates the best and biggest rides of the winter season on the North Shore. Join us for the video premiere of the 2017 – 2018  footage and watch the Wave of the Winter 2018 winning wave.

Anyone can enter, but there are some stipulations. Each entry must be a video of a wave surfed on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii from November 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018.  The surfer must successfully ride a wave with no JetSki assist to qualify and you MUST get it on video. The video must be in good visual quality and can not be edited. Also, this video must be kept secret. It can not be a video that has been submitted previously in a promotion of any kind or exhibited or displayed publicly through any means.

Thursday May 10th at 7pm at Island Water Sports

The Judging Process

Wave of the Winter awards surfers in a few categories by this incredibly esteemed judging panel.

Wave of the Winter 2018 Judging Panel

The Clif Bar Overall Performance Award

Wave of the Winter 2018 Clif Overall Performance Award

On or about March 6, 2018, an esteemed judging panel led by Gerry Lopez will select the ultimate winning wave and videographer for the O’Neill Wave of the Winter as well as the season’s Clif Bar Overall Performance Award based on the following criteria:

  • 25% of score comes from the wave size
  • 25% of the score comes from degree of difficulty of the maneuvers performed on the wave
  • Style accounts for another 25% of the score
  • The last 25% is the overall “heaviness” factor of the wave and ride

Wave of the Winter Monthly People’s Choice Champions

Before the end of each month of the Contest, videographers must enter their Submissions from that month. The field of entrants from that month will be narrowed down and top rides will be highlighted in a Surfline feature. The Surfline audience will then vote on their favorite ride via a polling program within the feature. The voting window will last 48 hours from the launch of the feature. At the end of the voting window the rider with the most votes will be deemed the winner.

This Year’s People’s Choice Champions

Brett Barley won November’s User’s Choice for an insanities drainer. Barley also won December’s User Choice for an OTW nugget. Then, a couple of unknown Japanese chargers won January and February. Keito Matsuoka snagged a crazy Pipe Bomb during the Backdoor Shootout, and Jun Shiiba drove through a serious OTW cavern in the late season. All in all, a fine season. 

Banzai Bowls Breakthrough Performer Award

This year Barron Mamiya took home the Banzai Bowls Breakthrough Performer award. This award is for the young guns. The surfer  (19 yeard old or younger) who stands out the most receives a $5,000 prize.

Wave of the Winter 2018 Banzai Bowl Breakthrough Performer

Photo of Barron Mamiya from World Surf League

“I always wanted to win this award,” said Mamyia. “Some of the greatest Pipe surfers — some of my idols — picked me, so I’m super stoked. Especially because it’s pretty hard to get a good wave out there if you’re young. I’ll go out at 6am to get a few before the boys paddle out. I try not to miss it.”

Watch his video here

Wave of the Winter 2018

What happens in the event of a tie?

In the event of a tie for the O’Neill Wave of the Winter, the Videographer and Surfer whose Submission received the highest Degree of Difficulty of Maneuvers score, as determined by the qualified judges, in their sole discretion, will be deemed the winners. Sponsors and Surfline reserve the right not to select a winner if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive an eligible and qualified Submission.

Wave of the Winter Purse

Chosen as the winner of the Wave of the Winter? The surfer’s grand prize is $25,000 USD and the videographer will snag $5,000.In addition the Clif Bar Overall Performanace will snag both the rider and the man or women behind the camera another $5,000. In addition, Clif Bar will make a $10,000 charitable donation to a North Shore focused environmentally oriented charity on the winner’s behalf, and supply the winner with a year’s supply of Clif Bar products.

There are four monthly people choice champions. Each of these winners will win $4,000 each. And, the young gun to win the Banazai Bowl Breakthrough performer will be awarded $5,000.

Wave of the Winter Top 10 Rides

Wave of the Winter 2018 top ten

Over 200 videos were submitted for the 2017-2018 Wave of the Winter contest making for some incredible insane footage. and incredibly, a large percentage of those 200 entries were solid and fully committed tuberides from Pipe, Backdoor or Off-the-Wall.

“The judges — Gerry Lopez, Pancho Sullivan, Shawn Briley and Shane Dorian — had their work cut out for ’em, in other words.”, said Surfline

“The picks are based on the wave, the ride as well as style and grace,” head judge Gerry Lopez said. “The judges choose on what is important and impressive to them personally. So sometimes, like this year, with a lot of variables in play, it’s not easy.”

The judging panels narrowed the picks down to the Wave of the Winter 2018 top five from each month. Then they tediously boiled all the entries down to only ten from all 200 entries.

After a few arguments, the race boiled down to a competition between Keito Matsuoka’s Pipe bomb and Nathan Florence’s double-drainer. Both were ridden at the Da Hui’s Backdoor Shootout in early January.

But, in the end, Florence came out as the Wave of the Winter 2018 winner. The tie-breaker? “Making a wave from Backdoor through Off-the-Wall is a rare and very special thing”, said the panel.

Announcing this Year’s Overall Winner: Nathan Florence

“I think what set Nathan’s wave apart is the ride had everything you could really ask for,” said Dorian. “A nice, late drop, the wave was pretty big, he was deep and pumping, and then the barrel has a whole second section which made the barrel much longer than the others. Basically the length of the whole reef at Backdoor. That said, all the top 10 rides are really strong.”

Gerry continued: “Nathan has been coming on strong for a number of years now, and all us judges knew at some point that he would be right up front. So this is not surprising, is actually well deserved and about time. Congratulations, Nathan!”

“Nate took off in the perfect spot then got barreled all the way across, till the end,” said Shawn Briley. “Again: the Wave of the Winter is up for grabs every year for anybody who will lay it on the line!”

To break the news to Nate, they caught him in Huntington Beach during Jack’s Pro. The team lured him up to the office for a generic interview and then surprised him with the winning announcement.

Credit: Winning video angle: Chris Kincade

Thursday May 10th at 7pm at Island Water Sports


Wave of the Winter 2018 Premiere at Island Water Sports in Deerfield Beach Florida