1997/98 - Champion - Taylor Knox

It all began with the K2 Big Wave Challenge. When announced in October of 1997, it revolutionized big wave surfing events forever. The idea was ruthlessly simple: any spot, any day, any surfer-based on the photographic evidence, the Biggest Wave Wins. The timing was perfect... with one of the biggest El Nino winters surfing has ever known churning through the North Pacific, the paddle-in limits were being pushed like never before.

It was an amazing season, with massive swell events every few weeks. It was a banner season for the West Coast and in NorCal surfers like Peter Mel were stroking into the biggest waves ever seen at Maverick's again and again. But it the final weeks of the event it was Taylor Knox's shocking 52-foot drop at Todos Santos which won the $50,000 first place award and moved big wave surfing back to the front lines of extreme sports attention.

Winning photo - Les Walker