The SURFER Poll
Since 1963, we’ve been asking our readers who their favorite surfers are, and the annual results read like a who’s who of surf royalty. This year was our first to conduct the poll online only, and the voter turnout was record-breaking.
Men’s Top 10
No. 10: Owen Wright
The 20-year-old Australian has been one of the most important surfers to keep an eye on during this year’s World Tour events. Channeling his innovative surfing above the lip into awe-inspiring heat performances has paid dividends in his results. This year will mark Owen’s first year on the SURFER Poll, but there is no doubt that his surfing will keep him in the spotlight for years to come.
No. 9: Julian Wilson
The child prodigy is all grown up, and he’s now cemented himself as one of the surfers raising the bar for progression. The two years that Julian spent making his signature film, Scratching the Surface, proved to be time well spent. Not only was the film nominated for Movie of the Year, but his surfing in the film also earned him nominations for Best Maneuver and Best Performance.
No. 8: Joel Parkinson
A perennial Top 5 ASP title contender, Joel’s become a SURFER Poll mainstay. He was the Triple Crown champion in 2009, and after coming back from a horrendous injury, he recently took home the 2010 Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa win. Even after spending months out of the water, his turns are still art in motion.
No. 7: Rob Machado
Stepping away from competition has had little effect on the surfing world’s love for Rob and his unique approach to surfing and living. He is the embodiment of supremely talented freesurfing, and his new film, Melali Sessions, reaffirms Rob as one of the greatest style icons of our sport.
No. 6: Andy Irons
His three world titles speak for themselves, but his aggressive approach to surfing and his fierce rivalry with Kelly Slater will be the stuff of legends for all time. This may be his last time gracing the SURFER Poll Awards, but his memory will never fade.
No. 5: Taj Burrow
Ranked No. 4 in the world, Taj has spent most of the last decade finishing within the Top 5 on the World Tour. Although a world title has eluded him, there is no doubt he is one of the most dangerous men on Tour and one of the most innovative freesurfers of all time.
No. 4: Mick Fanning
Winning two world titles in the last four years, Fanning is one of only two surfers to pull off a world title win since Kelly Slater’s return to form. His win in France this year and his current No. 3 ranking on Tour prove that he is one of the most terrifying surfers to draw in a heat.
No. 3: Jordy Smith
It would be impossible to decide whether it was Jordy’s World Tour performance or his freesurfing video parts that truly defined 2010 for the freakishly talented South African. His surfing in Kai Neville’s generation-defining Modern Collective tapped the outermost limits of our imaginations, and on top of that, he was hot on Kelly Slater’s heels, keeping the world title race alive up until the second to last event.
No. 2: Dane Reynolds
Dane is rewriting the book on how to be a pro surfer everyday. His blog, MarineLayerProductions.com has become the surfing world’s window into his life. Whether its obscure photos, strange anecdotes, or the most progressive surfing in the world, there is always something going on in Dane’s world. All of his video projects in 2010 were amazing in their own right, and all perceived apathy aside, he remains one of the most incredible contest surfers to watch.
No. 1: Kelly Slater
Far from surprising, Kelly Slater won the SURFER Poll on top of everything else he has accomplished in this monumental year. After shooting past Jordy to an insurmountable points lead in Puerto Rico and becoming the 10-time World Champion, Slater went ahead and won the event as well for good measure. It has been said after his last few world titles, but it begs to be repeated: Kelly Slater has accomplished something in surfing than no one else ever will.
Women’s Top 5
No. 5: Alana Blanchard
Although Alana fell from the World Tour in 2009, that was not enough to dissuade the public that she remains one of the top female surfer in the world. Alana requalified for the 2011 ASP Tour, so all eyes will be on her to prove that’s where she belongs when the Tour gets underway.
No. 4: Sofia Mulanovich
Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich has won four consecutive No.1 Female Surfer Poll awards (2005-2008), taken out the prestigious Vans Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing, and was the 2004 ASP World Champion. She has been one of the most dominant forces in women’s surfing for the past five years, and finished this year in the No. 5 position on the ASP Women’s World Tour.
No. 3: Coco Ho
In 2009, she joined the World Tour, taking home the ASP Rookie of the Year award and finishing as the top-rated Hawaiian female in the world. She was the only rookie to take out an event win when she clinched the Rip Curl Pro Search. In 2010, she finished 7th on the World Tour.
No. 2: Carissa Moore
See “prodigy” in the dictionary. Carissa has been blowing her peers out of the water for years, not to mention taking down some of the tour’s most established rippers. She was the youngest-ever Vans Triple Crown of Surfing event champion last year, and has slashed and carved her way to a current No.3 position on the ASP Women’s World Tour this year.
No. 1: Stephanie Gilmore
Steph has already carved her name into the history of women’s surfing by putting on a dominant display in the water and taking four world titles at the age of 22. This marks her second consecutive first place in the SURFER Poll Awards, and she shows no signs of slowing down. The talent pool in women’s surfing has never been stronger, but Stephanie Gilmore is still standing tall, miles ahead of the pack.