2 Americans win top prizes for 'biggest paddle' at Red Bull Big Wave Awards

Two American surfers took home top prizes for both men and women as the World Surf League on Monday announced winners for riding enormous waves. 

Hawaiian surfers Eli Olson and Paige Elms paddled massive waves and each one “Biggest Paddle” for their rides on December 12. 

These prizes were awarded at the Red Bull Big Wave Award by the World Surf League to the surfer who paddles into a wave, instead of having a jet ski take them out, and then successfully rides it. 

Olson, of Oahu, paddled a 50-foot wave at the world-famous Jaws surf break in Maui. 

"I just turned and head down and I was like, ‘I'm either getting an excellent wipeout entry or I'm gonna get something, some kind of entry on this one.’” Olson said. “It was big and terrifying."

Elms, of Maui, earned her prize after she paddled and rode a 36-foot wave. She accomplished the feat at Jaws, too. 

"I knew as soon as it was coming to me that I was in the perfect spot,” Elms said. “I had to navigate quite a few bumps and thought that I had a perfect line and when I got to the bottom of the wave, I really felt like I was coming around the corner, like I had it."

Each surfer earned a $15,000 prize for their performances.