March  3 - 9, 2024: Issue 616


Winners crowned at the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards

North Narrabeen surfer Laura Enever with her award. Pic: Smith/Surfing Australia

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 on Tuesday February 28.

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 Gilmore Rising 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.

Other local winners include Surf Film of the Year – Filmer Award for Kamchatka - by  Avalon and Bilgola men Spencer Frost and Guy Williment featuring surfers Letty Mortensen and Fraser Dovell. Kamchatka is now available online via Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google play or anywhere else you watch your videos.

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

Chelsea Hedges (née Georgeson), former Avalon Beach and NASA member, was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. Known for charging big waves, her power surfing, and strong backhand attack, Chelsea won a World Junior title in 2001 and, after just one year on the Qualifying Series, qualified for the World Championship Tour. In her first year, she finished an impressive eighth in the world.

Chelsea represented Australia on Tour for a decade. She was twice crowned International Surfing Association (ISA) World Champion (2002, 2010) and won the World Championship title as well as the Triple Crown of Surfing in 2005.

4 Australian Womens World Champs together: Chelsea Hedges (2024 Inductee to HOF), Pam Burridge (1997 Inductee to HOF), Stephanie Gilmore (2013 Inductee to HOF), Pauline Menczer (2018 Inductee to HOF). More at:

More in Profile of the Week, Issue 616

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 

Other residents named as finalists fro this years' awards can be read about in: Avalon-Bungan-Newport-North Narrabeen-Long Reef Beach Surfers Named Among Finalists Announced 2023 Australian Surfing Awards + Chelsea Hedges To Be Inducted Into The Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame

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.