TURTLE BAY, Oahu, Hawaii (Dec. 6, 2012) — Kelly Slater (USA), 40, and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, took home top honors last night at the 42nd annual SURFER Poll Awards. For the third year running, the best surfers, filmmakers, and who’s who of the surf world converged on Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu for the Biggest Night is Surfing, where awards were presented to the top surfers, as voted by fans, as well as the best movies and performances of the year.
A veteran of the Poll, this year marked Kelly Slater’s 18th SURFER Poll No. 1 Award. He first took the honor in 1993 when he was just 21 years old.
“Obviously I’m stoked, it’s been a long time with a lot of support from a lot of people,” said Slater. “It’s definitely nice to be recognized by the surfing community and to come out at the top position. I’m surprised John John didn’t get first. I also thought Dane was going to get it this year—maybe next year. I think they split each other’s votes. They stole the election from each other.”
This year saw two first-time additions to the Top 10. John John Florence, who in 2011 won the AI Breakthrough Performer Award, leapt into second position on the list just behind Slater. Also making his SURFER Poll debut this year, Gabriel Medina became the first Brazilian to break the Top 10 on the coveted Poll. He also secured the distinguished AI Breakthrough Performer Presented by New Era award for 2012.
In addition to Slater and Florence, ASP WCT surfers dominated the awards with Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, Owen Wright (AUS), 22, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 24, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, and Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, all securing a Top 10 finish.
On the Women’s side of the Poll, the Top 5 from 2011 all remained on the list, with Alana Blanchard jumping up into the second position behind Stephanie Gilmore, who reclaimed the top spot for her third SURFER Poll victory.
“I am very excited about this year,” said Gilmore. “I was a little unsure of how it’d unfold, I wasn’t sure if I was going to come out on top because I didn’t win last year. I seriously had one of the best years of my life, and I guess everybody else thought that too. These awards are so important, because it’s the fans voting, so it means a lot.”
Joining Gilmore and Blanchard were fellow ASP Top 17 surfers Coco Ho (HAW), 21, 2011 ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 20, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21.
2012 SURFER Poll Results
Top 10 Men
1. Kelly Slater
2. John John Florence
3. Dane Reynolds
4. Gabriel Medina
5. Mick Fanning
6. Joel Parkinson
7. Julian Wilson
8. Taj Burow
9. Jordy Smith
10. Owen Wright
Top 5 Women
1. Steph Gilmore
2. Alana Blanchard
3. Coco Ho
4. Carissa Moore
5. Sally Fitzgibbons
AI Breakthrough Performer Presented by New Era
Watch the show in its entirety at SurferPoll.com or on Time Warner Cable in Hawaii and California (Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Desert Cities). Start the conversation with #SurferPoll.