Winners crowned at the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards

Published on 28/02/2024

Some of the biggest names in surfing have been honoured at the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards, held at the Bondi Pavilion in Bondi Beach, Sydney.

Renowned surf media icons Vaughan Blakey and Jess Grimwood hosted the event, which recognised the outstanding achievements of athletes and contributors across 19 award categories.

Ethan Ewing and Molly Picklum were named Male and Female Surfer of the Year, respectively. Both accepted their awards from Puerto Rico, where they are currently competing at the ISA World Surfing Games.

Picklum said: “Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. I’m really honoured to have won Female Surfer of the Year this year. Surfing is looking bright for the future of Australia. Congrats to everyone who won and hope y’all had a good night.”

Ewing said: “It feels amazing to be Male Surfer of the Year. It was a huge year, last year. A lot of effort went in. I’m honoured to win this award. My greatest moment from 2023 was definitely my Bells win, super emotional and just to win an event at Bells. It’s such an iconic event. It meant a lot to me. I’m super proud of that. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me me over the years. Definitely wouldn’t be here without them.”

Among the many highlights of the night, Harley Walters received the Mick Fanning Male Rising Star Award, while Sierra Kerr was honoured with the Stephanie GilmoreRising Star Award.

Gilmore said: “With Surfing Australia supporting the juniors so much, it just seems like there’s a real clear pathway for the young groms to come through and know what they want to do and have the support in and out of the water, in the gym, with the jet skis and coaches. It’s a fantastic way to encourage kids to chase their dreams. Watching these last two (Championship Tour) events with Molly going absolutely mad and Sierra’s going to be there behind her too. It’s really special and I’m very privileged to be here to watch it.”

Otis Carey was celebrated with the Indigenous Surfing Community Celebration Award for his contributions to the sport and community.

Carey said: “I do what I do for the next generation because as Indigenous people we have to work twice as hard to get to where we want to get to. I want to make it easier for the next generation.”

Surf Witches Boardriders Club received the Surf Culture Award. The club aims to provide a friendly, supportive network for female surfers of all ages and its number of members has soared, several of whom, aged in their 60s and 70s, feature in the inspiring doco Taking Off: Tales of Older Women Who Surf.

Surf Clip of the Year – Surfer Award went to Outer Edge of Leisure – Russell Bierke.

World Record holders Laura Enever (largest paddle-in wave) and Blake Johnston (longest-recorded surfing session) were recognised with the Heavy Water Award and the Greater Good Award, respectively.

Former Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark received Surfing Australia Life Membership for his dedication to Australian surfing and  Gilmore also presented one of the the biggest gongs , inducting Chelsea Hedges into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame.

Winners of the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame:

Male Surfer of the Year presented by the AIS
Ethan Ewing

Female Surfer of the Year presented by the AIS
Molly Picklum

Mick Fanning Male Rising Star Award presented by Griffith University
Harley Walters

Stephanie Gilmore Female Rising Star Award (Under 18) presented by Griffith University
Sierra Kerr

Male Para Surfer of the Year
Joel Taylor

Female Para Surfer of the Year
Jocelyn Neumueller

Heavy Water Award
Laura Enever

Indigenous Surfing – Community Celebration Award
Otis Carey

Greater Good Award
Blake Johnston

Breakthrough Surf Brand of the Year Award
Need Essentials

Innovation Award presented by ACCIONA

Surf Culture Award presented by Jim Beam
Surf Witches Boardriders Club

Simon Anderson Boardrider Club Award presented by Curly Lewis
Byron Bay Boardriders

Peter Troy Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Surfing World
Steve Foreman

Coach of the Year Award
Jay “Bottle” Thompson

Surf School of the Year Award
Coastrider Surf Academy – Clifton Beach

Surf Clip of the Year – Surfer Award (under 15 minutes)
Outer Edge of Leisure – Russell Bierke

Surf Film of the Year – Filmer Award
Kamchatka – Spencer Frost and Guy Williment featuring surfers Letty Mortensen and Fraser Dovell 
Surf Photo of the Year presented by Tracks
Ben Jackson “Darcy Piper”

Hall of Fame

Chelsea Hedges

The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame are proudly sponsored by Griffith University, ACCIONA, Jim Beam, Le Tan, Small Things Wine, Tracks, Surfing World, Curly Lewis and OnStone.

The official afterparty for the Awards was held at the Curly Lewis Brewery.

For more details see the Australian Surfing Awards website and Hall of Fame honour list.

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