Ken “Skindog” Collins

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His goal was simple -- come back in one piece on one particularly big, Oaxacan summer day. Santa Cruz big wave charger Ken “Skindog” Collins met that goal and then some. He not only returned unscathed but also caught the Puerto bomb of a lifetime that won him the Billabong XXL 2007 Ride of the Year (a new category this year recognizing the size of the wave and the quality of the ride).  That same wave won him the Monster Tube Award, and Collins went home $55,000 richer. “I would have paid 50 grand to get that barrel,” Collins said. It’s about time for Collins to get a little more recognition.  At 39 years old, “Skindog” has been pushing the envelope for years at places like Ghost Trees, Cortez Bank and Todos Santos. In doing so, he’s helped propel big wave riding beyond all previously conceived expectations.  Step Into Liquid and Billabong Odyssey documented Collins’ antics. He was also one as one of the original Mavericks riders, paddling alongside Jeff Clark and Darryl "Flea" Virostko. Collins is living proof of the cliché that taking great risks can result in big payoffs. But sometimes it comes at a price.  Collins almost gave up big wave surfing two years ago after taking a bad spill at Jaws. “I got really humbled,” he said.  “Three waves in a row just held me down for so long. With every one I just thought that I was going to die.” He didn’t pack it in and give up though. Not too long after he was back in the water at Jaws charging waves exceeding triple overhead. When he’s not monster tube hunting, Ken “Skindog” Collins is slinging Volcom gear as their Northern California Sales Representative. Collins got his start working in the industry airbrushing boards for more than a decade.  He then landed a couple of sales rep positions before the window of opportunity opened at Volcom nine years ago.  Quick-witted, fast-talking and high-energy, there doesn’t seem to be a better job for Collins than sales, especially for a company bursting with liveliness like Volcom. “I have always been attracted by the mystique of the stone and the fact that they make really clever gear,” Collins said. Volcom couldn’t have asked for better exposure. At this year’s Global Big Wave Event, Collins jokingly slapped a Volcom sticker on the podium as he accepted the Monster Tube award. Working sales and big waves go hand-in-hand for Collins. “There is no final goal,” he said.  “You try to hit a certain number, and if you hit it, you think, ‘Good job. Now what is the next plan?’  That is how my surfing is too. The double XXL is really big for me, but to me it just gives me more confidence ride more waves like that.” BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS OFFICIAL RESULTS BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD Surfer prize $50,000, Video prize $5000 Winner: Ken "Skindog" Collins (Santa Cruz, California) at Puerto Escondido Video by Josh Pomer Second Place: Andrew Marr (Cape Town, South Africa) at Dungeons, South Africa Third Place: (Tie) Rusty Long (San Clemente, California) at Puerto Escondido Third Place: (Tie) Doug Young (Dunedin, New Zealand) at Teahupoo, Tahiti Fifth Place: Manoa Drollet (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti

BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD Surfer prize $15,000, Photo, Video prize: $4000 Greg Long (San Clemente, California) at Dungeons, South Africa Photo by Al McKinnon

MONSTER PADDLE AWARD Surfer prize $15,000, Photo/video prize: $4000 Garrett McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii) at Maverick's, Half Moon Bay, California Video by Ryan Casey MONSTER TUBE AWARD Surfer prize $5,000, Photo/video prize: $2000 Ken "Skindog" Collins (Santa Cruz, California) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico Photos by Edwin Morales and Video by Josh Pomer SURFLINE MEN'S BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD Surfer prize $5,000 Garrett McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii) BILLABONG WOMEN'S BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD Surfer prize $5,000 Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

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