On Friday, surfing's biggest night went down in historic fashion with 11-time world champion Kelly Slater winning an unprecedented 19th No. 1 spot at the 44th annual Surfer Poll. The world's best surfers, living legends, industry heavyweights, global media, and surf fans from around the world converged at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu dressed to the nines in their finest aloha shirts, cocktail dresses, and even sports coats to celebrate the best and the brightest that surfing has to offer.
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The biggest question of the night was: will John John Florence top Kelly Slater? And at the end of the ceremony, that question was answered with John John's name being announced in the No. 2 spot, making Kelly Slater the world's most popular surfer, yet again. Kelly Slater himself was ready to hand his well-worn Surfer Poll crown to Florence, even seeming surprised that John John didn't get the votes needed to top the poll, saying that "John John will probably win the next 19 of these awards." Slater's reign as Surfer Poll champion will go on for another year, but even with his win, the night belonged to John John, whose two films took top honors in nearly every category including Best Performance (“Done”), Movie Of The Year (“Done”), Best Short (“Begin Again”). John John and his production partner, Blake Kueny, showed poise and humility on stage thanking friends, family, and their respective sponsors throughout the night.
On the women's side, Alana Blanchard took her first Surfer Poll win, with Sally Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore in a close second and third. Kauai surfer Dustin Barca took the Agent of Change award along with his partners for their fight to regulate GMOs on the Hawaiian islands. Other categories included Worst Wipeout, Best Documentary, Andy Irons Breakthrough Performer, Heavy Water, and Best Barrel. For a replay of the awards show and complete list of winners, go to http://www.surfermag.com/features/surfer-poll-results/