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Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Heads to Hawaii for Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau

February 9th, 2016 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, seen here at Jaws, is on his way to Hawaii to compete in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave event at Waimea Bay on Wednesday  Image: Nick Ricca

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, seen here at Jaws, is on his way to Hawaii to compete in the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave event at Waimea Bay on Wednesday  Image: Nick Ricca

Prestigious Big Wave Event at Waimea Bay Draws World’s Best Big Wave Surfers

WAIMEA BAY, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, February 8, 2016) – The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, a World Surf League Specialty Event, has been called ON for Wednesday, February 10 at the world-renowned Waimea Bay. This will be the ninth time this prestigious event has run in its storied, 31-year history.

The best big wave surfers will take on the 20-foot-plus (Hawaiian) swell as organisers anticipate a solid day of surf that will meet the event’s strict wave face height requirement of 40 feet, with favourable light winds in the morning, turning light trades by afternoon.

Durban’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is jetting to Hawaii after receiving the call up on Sunday. An invitee for the past eight years, he is the only South African to have competed in the event (2009) and is again the only one from this country in the elite 28 man invitational field this year.

The 42 year-old who recently became a father for the first time, returned to the country three weeks ago to rehabilitate a nagging back injury after charging the massive El Nino swells in California, Mexico and Hawaii during December and January where he competed in the Big Wave Tour event at Jaws on the island of Maui.

However, the lure of joining the world’s best exponents in the most prestigious big wave event on the planet was strong enough for Baker to pack his bags and boards and head back halfway around the world to compete at Waimea Bay.

“It has taken us six years to pull the trigger, but this is the first swell we have seen that is truly lining up as an Eddie swell,” said Event Director Glen Moncata.

Moncata and the organizing team continue to confer with event patriarch George Downing, who has made the call on every event since its inception.

“As George has famously said, ‘The Bay Calls the Day’ and that will be Wednesday,” added Moncata.

The Eddie will be contested by 28 invitees, including BWT current rankings’ leader and 2009 Eddie winner Greg Long (USA); Clyde Aikau (HAW), Eddie’s brother and winner of the second Eddie event; and 11-time World Champion and 2001/2002 Eddie winner Kelly Slater (USA).

Baker will be up against Slater and experienced Hawaiian Dave Wassel in both his heats, along with four other competitors.

The format sees everyone in the field compete twice with their best four rides from the two heats totalled to determine the winner. This makes the event difficult to run as it is imperative that the wave faces remain in the13 metre plus range throughout the day so competitors in all the heats, from the first to the last, have an equal opportunity to impress the judges.

This WSL Specialty Big-Wave event is named for native Hawaiian, champion big wave surfer and life-saving Waimea Bay lifeguard, Eddie Aikau. The event honours Aikau’s legendary courage.

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app starting at approximately 8pm South African time. The event will be carried by our LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CNS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brazil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, and Starhub.

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Heat Draw:

Round 1/Heat 1
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Greg Long (USA)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)

Round 1/Heat 2
Kelly Slater (USA)
David Wassel (HAW)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Reef McIntosh (HAW)
Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Aaron Gold (HAW)
Tom Carroll (AUS)

Round 1/Heat 3
John John Florence (HAW)
Mark Healey (HAW)
Clyde Aikau (HAW)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Noah Johnson (HAW)
Peter Mel (USA)
Takayuki Wakita (JPN)

Round 1/Heat 4
Bruce Irons (HAW)
Makua Rothman (HAW)
Ian Walsh (HAW)
Albee Layer (HAW)
Kala Alexander (HAW)
Garrett McNamara (HAW)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Round 2/Heat 1
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Greg Long (USA)
Reef McIntosh (HAW)
Jamie O’Brien (HAW)
Aaron Gold (HAW)
Tom Carroll (AUS)

Round 2/Heat 2
Kelly Slater (USA)
David Wassel (HAW)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)

Round 2/Heat 3
John John Florence (HAW)
Mark Healey (HAW)
Clyde Aikau (HAW)
Albee Layer (HAW)
Kala Alexander (HAW)
Garrett McNamara (HAW)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Round 2/Heat 4
Bruce Irons (HAW)
Makua Rothman (HAW)
Ian Walsh (HAW)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Noah Johnson (HAW)
Peter Mel (USA)
Takayuki Wakita (JPN)

ENDS

Note: High resolution images will be available after the event on request to Media Outlets

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

Josh Kerr Claims Todos Santos Challenge in Massive Surf

January 18th, 2016 No comments
Australian Josh Kerr en route to winning the Todos Santos Challenge   Image: WSL / Hallman

Australian Josh Kerr en route to winning the Todos Santos Challenge   Image: WSL / Hallman

Elite Championship Tour Australian Bests Big Wave Field

TODOS SANTOS, Baja California/Mexico (Sunday, January 17, 2016) – Josh Kerr (AUS), a long serving competitor on the elite World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), claimed the Todos Santos Challenge today, besting a field of 24 of the world’s top big wave surfers in mammoth 10m to 13 m (30-to-40-foot) waves off the coast of Baja California in Mexico.

The third WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT) event to run in the 2015/2016 season, the Todos Santos Challenge attracted the marquee big wave surfers on the planet to the remote location of “Killers” off of Isla Todos Santos in Baja California. A solid West Northwest (WNW) swell tracking from north of the Hawaiian Islands delivered huge waves that increased in size throughout the morning before climaxing for the six-man Final.

Kerr, who finished 11th on last year’s elite Championship Tour, put his big wave skills to the test today, resulting in one of the biggest wins of his career. Consistently navigating massive set waves from the opening round, Kerr opened the Final strongly and stayed busy throughout. He caught and rode a total of five waves, two more than any of his five opponents, and posted scores of 7.87 and 8.20 to collect his first Big Wave victory.

“I have so much respect for the guys on this tour and those that regularly commit themselves to surfing big waves,” Kerr said. “I have had the biggest smile on my face all day just getting to surf big waves with them. I’ve felt great all day and had complete confidence in my board. I’m really thankful for the opportunity to surf here today.”

Kerr’s fellow finalists represented a “Who’s Who” of the big wave community who are all Todos Santos specialists. Greg Long (USA), Carlos Burle (BRA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Nic Lamb (USA) and Rusty Long (USA) finished second to sixth respectively.

Greg Long, a former Big Wave Tour Champion, was particularly impressive at Todos Santos today, putting his decades of experience at the venue to use by waiting patiently for the biggest and best waves and consistently netting high scores en route to his Runner-Up finish.

“It’s been a great day and I’m really happy that Todos turned on for the world to see,” Long said. “I’ve been coming here since I was 15 and it’s a very special wave for me. Unfortunate that the wind kicked up in the afternoon and I wasn’t able to find a second wave in the Final, but huge congrats to Josh (Kerr) who was charging all day.”

Today’s Runner-Up finish vaulted Long to the No. 1 spot on the latest WSL BWT rankings.

James Taylor (ZAF, Melkbosstrand) was the only South African in the 24-man field following the withdrawal due to a back injury of Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, the 2013/2014 BWT World Champion and the No. 7 seed for the Todos Santos Challenge.

Taylor made a determined comeback in his Round 1 heat after misreading the takeoff on his first wave and then suffering an horrendous wipeout when he was hung up in the lip of the wave on his second ride. He posted two more scores, a 6.17 and a 3.70, but was ultimately eliminated after placing fifth behind Greg Long, Gudauskas, Hobgood and Billy Kemper (HAW).

Kemper, who entered the Todos Santos Challenge as the WSL BWT rankings’ frontrunner following an incendiary victory at the Pe’ahi Challenge on Maui in December, was also eliminated which saw him drop to 3rd on the BWT rankings.

Makuakai Rothman (HAW), reigning WSL BWT Champion and winner of the Quiksilver Ceremonial in Chile last May, came into the Todos Santos Challenge ranked No. 2 but was ousted in the final moments of his Semifinal bout by Kerr, Rusty Long and Burle.

Two events, the Oregon Challenge at Lincoln City’s Nelscott Reef and the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque Region, remain on the 2015/2016 WSL BWT season with the potential to run, conditions permitting, before the February 28th close of the window.

Highlights from the Todos Santos Challenge are available at WorldSurfLeague.com

Todos Santos Challenge Final Results:
1 – Josh Kerr (AUS) 24.27
2 – Greg Long (USA) 18.84
3 – Carlos Burle (BRA) 18.33
4 – Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.33
5 – Nic Lamb (USA) 13.51
6 – Rusty Long (USA) 0.20

Todos Santos Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 25.69, Rusty Long (USA) 25.33, Carlos Burle (BRA) 22.21, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 21.80, Mark Healey (HAW) 17.40, Nathan Fletcher (USA) 10.77
SF 2: Greg Long (USA) 26.93, Damien Hobgood (USA) 25.77, Nic Lamb (USA) 24.17, Jamie Mitchell (HAW) 22.74, Jamie Sterling (AUS) 22.46, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 17.23

Todos Santos Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Mark Healey (HAW) 22.49, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 21.76, Nathan Fletcher (USA) 14.83, Nic Vaughan (USA) 14.10, Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.79, Diego Petrusso (MEX) 3.71
Heat 2: Carlos Burle (BRA) 23.09, Josh Kerr (AUS) 22.83, Rusty Long (USA) 19.89, Will Skudin (USA) 17.73, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 12.89, Trevor Carlson (USA) 10.41
Heat 3: Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 26.87, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 23.36, Nic Lamb (USA) 23.17, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 20.07, Derek Dunfee (USA) 19.69, Vincente Yazbeck (MEX) 12.04
Heat 4: Greg Long (USA) 25.74, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 22.67, Damien Hobgood (USA) 21.94, Billy Kemper (HAW) 20.33, James Taylor (ZAF) 16.04, Coco Nogales (MEX) 14.97

2015/2016 WSL BWT Top 5 (after Todos Santos Challenge):
1. Greg Long (USA) 21,266 pts
2. Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 16,994 pts
3. Billy Kemper (HAW) 16,714 pts
4. Nic Lamb (USA) 16,594 pts
5. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13,589 pts

ENDS

Note: High resolution images are available on request to Media Outlets

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

WSL Green Alert: Todos Santos Challenge Called On For Sunday

January 15th, 2016 No comments
WSL BWT competitor Greg Long (USA) warming up at Todos Santos on Tuesday. Long will be one of 24 competitors vying for the Todos Santos Challenge title on Sunday  Image: WSL / Sharp

WSL BWT competitor Greg Long (USA) warming up at Todos Santos on Tuesday. Long will be one of 24 competitors vying for the Todos Santos Challenge title on Sunday  Image: WSL / Sharp

World’s Best Big Wave Surfers to Tackle Baja California’s Big Wave Gem

The World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) has placed the Todos Santos Challenge in Baja California on Green Alert to commence on Sunday, January 17, 2016 with a projected 30-foot-plus swell heading towards the region.

“The swell we’ve been tracking from North of Hawaii has intensified and we’ve called the Todos Santos Challenge ON for a Sunday start,” said Peter Mel, WSL Big Wave Commissioner. “We’re looking at 30-foot-plus waves projected for the day with favourable winds and tides.”

The Todos Santos Challenge will be contested by 24 men, led by current rankings’ leader Billy Kemper (HAW) and reigning BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW).

South African Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, who ended the 2014 / 2015 season ranked No. 7 on the BWT, is one of the top 10 seeds, while compatriot James Taylor (Melkbosstrand) is one of two alternates in the Video Invitee category.

“Having ran events in Chile and Maui so far, the 2015/2016 Big Wave Tour has already produced exceptional moments,” continued Mel. “Makuakai Rothman was dominant at Punta de Lobos and Maui’s Billy Kemper wowed everyone at Pe’ahi. We’re looking forward to more fireworks come Sunday in Mexico.”

Surfline, official forecasters for the 2015/2016 WSL BWT season are calling for:

We have been closely monitoring a hurricane force low to the north of Hawaii over the past 24 hours as it will set up an XXL swell for Todos Santos through the day on Sunday. Thus far we have observed satellite verified wind of 50-75 knots and seas in excess of 50 feet in this storm and it still has plenty of life left in the next 12-24 hours. At this point we expect to see strong, long period west-northwest swell build through the day on Sunday, with the largest waves in the afternoon.

The better set waves, while likely lully, will be in the 30-40’ range on the face with some even larger max sets possible. Local wind and weather looks favorable with high pressure over the region: light and variable flow in the morning trending to light+ onshore NW in the afternoon.

The Todos Santos Challenge will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com

Todos Santos Challenge Invite List:

WSL Big Wave Tour Top Ten Seeds
Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Nic Lamb (USA)
Anthony Tashnick (USA)
Greg Long (USA)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Natxo Gonzales (EUK)
Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Carlos Burle (BRA)

Injury Wildcard
Alex Gray (USA)

Video Invitees
Trevor Sven Carlson (USA)
Mark Mathews (AUS)

Event Invitees
Derek Dunfee (USA)
Rusty Long (USA)
Nic Vaughan (USA)
Coco Nogales (MEX)
Diego Pertusso (MEX)
Vincente Yazbeck (MEX)

BWT Invitees
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Mark Healey (HAW)
Josh Kerr (AUS)
Kelly Slater (USA)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)

Video Invitee Alternates
James Taylor (ZAF)
Jamie Sterling (HAW)

Event Invitee Alternates
Chapman Murphey (USA)
Dane Gudauskas (USA)
Tanner Gudauskas (USA)

BWT Invitee Alternates
Damien Hobgood (USA)
Will Skudin (USA)
Diego Medina (CHL)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

World’s Best Brace Themselves for Tahiti

August 8th, 2015 No comments
Gabriel Medina will be hoping for rides like this at the upcoming 2015 Billabong Pro Tahiti  Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Gabriel Medina will be hoping for rides like this at the upcoming 2015 Billabong Pro Tahiti Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Surfing Column for Independent on Saturday – 8 August 2015

By Paul Botha

The world’s best surfers are bracing themselves for the challenge of riding one of the planet’s most dangerous waves when the Billabong Pro Tahiti gets underway at Teahupoo next Friday.

Teahupoo, literally ‘the end of the road’ and colloquially known as Chopes, presents the ultimate test of a surfer’s skill. The long range swells from the South Atlantic rise up out of deep water and hurl themselves over an extremely shallow coral reef, creating some of the hollowest tubes anywhere.

Last year’s event was won by Brazilian sensation Gabriel Medina whose flawless performance in triple overhead perfect barrels amazed everyone. Medina only suffered one wipe-out in the entire event, and that was in the Final where he went on to defeat multiple world and event champion Kelly Slater in a major upset.

South Africa’s Jordy Smith, who broke a couple of ribs at Chopes in 2011, had what he called the worst wipe-out of his life there last year. During Round 2, Smith was annihilated by a huge wave and then had to deal with three more mountains of white-water while scrambling around on the razor-sharp coral before the safety crew on Jetskis could pick him up and drag him to the safety of the channel.

Medina has had a torrid start to the defence of his 2014 World Title but showed a welcome return to form at Jeffreys Bay and will go into next week’s event as one of the favourites again. Others to watch will be the 43-year-old Slater, Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence and Owen Wright whose record setting perfect 20 point heat totals in Fiji demonstrated the Australian’s supreme skills in big, hollow, left-breaking waves.

There is a 12 hour time difference between Tahiti and South Africa so the live webcasts on worldsurfleague.com start around 8pm each evening and will be well worth following.

Bianca Buitendag has elevated herself into World Title contention after placing third in the Vans US Open of Surfing in California last weekend. Missing out on a third consecutive Final on the WSL Championship Tour by just 0.01 of a point when she was eliminated in the semis by close friend and eventual event winner Johanne Defay from Reunion Island, Buitendag nevertheless earned enough points to leapfrog two positions into fourth place on the rankings with four events remaining on the 2015 calendar.

Beyrick de Vries from Umhlanga also boosted his ratings, moving up to No. 43 on the Qualifying Series rankings, while Dylan Lightfoot from Jeffreys Bay placed a creditable 7th in the Pro Junior event at Huntington Beach.

The 50th annual Citroën South African Surfing Championships are currently underway in Richards Bay where competitors ranging in age from 16 to over 60 from eight regions are contesting both individual and team honours. The sport has certainly come a long way since the first official SA Champs which were held at the Wedge at the bottom of what was then West Street in July 1966!

ENDS

Fifth place for Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker at Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile

May 2nd, 2015 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action during his semi-final victory in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile on Friday  Photo: WSL / Azocar

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action during his semi-final victory in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile on Friday  Photo: WSL / Azocar

Durbanite Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker placed fifth in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational which was won by Makuakai Rothman (HAW) in huge 10 – 13 metre (30 – 40 foot) waves at Punta De Lobos in Peru on Friday.

The 24-man field was given the green light for the event to run on Thursday but the predicted swell did not materialise until late in the day. Organisers eventually got the event underway in 5 to 8 metre waves at 3pm and completed all four Round 1 heats before dark.

Baker, the 2013 World Big Wave Champion, was in the first heat of the day and won the six-man clash convincingly. He recorded scores of 8.83 and 8.33 (both out of 10) on his two counting rides for a heat total of 25.99 points (out of 30) as the highest single score for each competitor is doubled in value.

Capetonian Frank Solomon, who had only arrived at the contest site at 4am that morning after his surfboards were lost in transit, just failed to advance to the semis when he finished in fourth place behind Baker, local and defending event champion Marcos Monteiro (CHL) and Koa Rothman (HAW).

The swell filled in overnight and the semi-finalists were greeted by enormous walls of water peeling down the left-breaking point at first light on Friday. Baker again dominated his encounter, posting rides of 8.83 and 6.57 to finish five points ahead of eventual event runner-up Cristian Merello (CHL) and eight ahead of event winner Rothman.

In the second semi, local standout Ramon Navarro rode what was considered the biggest wave of the day, a massive 15 metre mountain of water that earned the Chilean a near perfect score of 9.70.

The final belonged to Rothman who rode a total of six waves including a pair of eight pointers. Baker was only in position to ride two waves and finished behind Merello, Navarro and American Nic Lamb. Australian Mark Mathews was sixth.

The Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational was the first event on the 2015 / 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT). Two more events in Peru and Mexico are scheduled for the period May 15 to October 31.

Those are followed by four events in Oregon, Baja California, Maui and the Basque country during the period October 15 to February 28, 2016 before the 2015/16 world champion big wave surfer will be crowned.

See all the results plus photos and video footage from the Punta De Lobos event at http://bit.ly/1OOK0g5

Results of the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational
FINAL
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 24.29
2. Cristian Merello CHL 23.17
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 22.31
4. Nic Lamb USA 20.74
5. Grant Baker ZAF 19.79
6. Mark Mathews AUS 17.97

Semifinals (Top 3 to final)
SF1: 1. Grant Baker ZAF 24.23, 2. Cristian Merello CHL 19.77,3. Makuakai Rothman HAW 16.67,4. Koa Rothman HAW 16.49,5. Marcos Monteiro BRA 15.19, 6. Mark Healey HAW 14.24
SF2: 1. Ramon Navarro CHL 26.30,2. Mark Mathews AUS 25.93, 3. Nic Lamb USA 25.34, 4. Damien Hobgood USA 24.49, 5. Diego Medina CHL 19.77, 6. Carlos Burle BRA 6.37

Round 1 (Top 3 to semi-finals)
H1: 1. Grant Baker (ZAF) 25.99pts, 2. Marcos Monteiro (BRA) 25.21pts, 3. Koa Rothman (HAW) 25.00pts, 4. Frank Solomon (ZAF) 19.54pts, 5. Federico Mekis (CHL) 15.57pts, 6. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 8.34pts
H2: 1. Mark Healey (HAW) 26.83pts, 2. Cristian Merello (CHL) 24.47pts, 3. Makua Rothman (HAW) 24.23pts, 4. Renialdo Ibarra (CHL) 21.40pts, 5. Nathan Fletcher (USA) 18.87pts, 6. Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.27pts
H3: 1. Nic Lamb (USA) 27.49pts, 2. Mark Mathews (AUS) 24.00pts, 3. Ramon Navarro , CHL) 22.37pts, 4. Fernando Zegers (CHL) 20.67pts, 5. Alex Gray (USA) 20.16pts, 6. Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.06pts
H4: 1. Diego Medina (CHL) 23.31pts, 2. Carlos Burle (BRA) 20.21pts, 3. Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.63pts, 4. Josh Kerr (USA) 17.97pts, 5. Jamie Sterling (HAW) 12.34pts, 6. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 3.66pts

2015/16 WSL Big Wave Tour Rankings
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 12,500
2. Cristian Merello CHL 10,416
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 8,680
4. Nic Lamb USA 7,234
5. Grant Baker ZAF 6,029
6. Mark Mathews AUS 5,024
=13. Frank Solomon ZAF 1,089

ENDS

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Cape Town excluded as WSL announces 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour schedule

April 8th, 2015 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action at Dungeons in Cape Town in 2009  Image: Kimi Stewart / BillabongXXL.com

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action at Dungeons in Cape Town in 2009  Image: Kimi Stewart / BillabongXXL.com

The World Surf League (WSL) has announced the 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour (BWT) schedule that includes two new venues in Mexico and Oregon in the USA but excludes Cape Town, taking the total number of stops that will determine the WSL Big Wave Surfing Champion to seven.

Dungeons, the open ocean reef near Hout Bay that has produced the biggest rideable waves on the African continent, has been removed from the schedule after the Cape Big Wave Trust (CBWT), a group that claims to include surfers from all over South Africa who regularly ride big waves in Cape Town, decided that they did not want the fully funded event to be run in at the break.

After fully supporting the WSL’s offer of the multi million Rand event on last year’s schedule, which did not run due to a lack of suitably large waves, the CBWT members were upset by reports that the number of spots allocated for local surfers would be reduced from six to four this year. This, added to their claim that the BWT did not have a clearly defined criteria for local surfers to qualify to compete in events elsewhere, saw the local group vote to withdraw the Dungeons Challenge from the tour until there was greater clarity on how the BWT system operates.

“A multi million Rand competition may be of benefit to a surfing audience, but given that we surf there (Dungeons) on average only about 5 times a year it can take away the very special experience from the very people that use the wave for their enjoyment,” said CBWT spokesman Barry Futter. “For us to support this we need to see greater clarity on exactly how the BWT system works. There needs to be real opportunity and benefit for local surfers to grow.”

The BWT officials amended their offer to include six spots for locals plus a wildcard for this year’s Dungeons Challenge, which along with the inclusion of 2013/14 BWT Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban, who qualifies for all the events on the schedule due to his current No. 8 ranking, would have brought the South African contingent in the event to eight, or a third of the 24 man field.

According to the CBWT, communications between WSL BWT Vice President Gary Linden, Contest Director Craig Jarvis and themselves lacked clarity and at their AGM the members voted unanimously that they did do not want a contest at Dungeons at this point.

The decision provoked a digital media furor with many in the SA surfing community unhappy with the outcome, questioning both the CBWT’s motivation and its authority to make the decision. Baker, who would have stood to benefit the most from having a BWT event at Dungeons, which is virtually his home break, diplomatically voted and expressed his solidarity with the locals.

But several SA based big wave luminaries were less accommodating with the likes of legendary Cape Town surfer and Dungeons pioneer Jonathan Paarman and Durban based watermen Jason Ribbink and former Dungeons champion John Whittle criticizing the CBWT decision as short-sighted, selfish and stunting the development of the emerging local big wave chargers by denying them the opportunity to meet, mingle and learn from the world’s best big wave exponents in their home surf without having to incur prohibitive international travel costs.

One silver lining to the BWT announcement was the inclusion of Cape Town big wave charger James Taylor as one of the six qualifiers from last year’s #ProveIt Challenge. Taylor is joined by Trevor Carlson (HAW), Nick Vaughan (USA), Mark Mathews (AUS), Jamie Sterling (HAW) and Derek Dunfee (USA) with two of the qualifiers gaining entry at each stop on the tour.

The 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour (BWT) will showcase the world’s premiere big wave surfers, the planet’s most harrowing venues and an unparalleled display of adventure, competitive drama and athleticism, all accessible at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Featuring fields of 24 of the best big wave surfers in the world, the WSL BWT events cover seven different potential venues across three continents all anticipating waves in excess of 25-feet to run. With a global forecasting partner in Surfline, event organizers have allocated the following windows for the various events, each only requiring one day of extraordinary surf to run:

Quiksilver Ceremonial: Punta de Lobos: Chile (April 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Billabong Pico Alto: Pico Alto: Peru (May 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico (May 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Oregon Challenge: Lincoln City, Oregon (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Punta Galea Challenge: Punta Galea, Basque Country Spain (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Pea’hi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Todos Santos Challenge: Todos Santos, Mexico (November 15, 2015 – March 31, 2016)

“The Big Wave Tour is entering into its second full year under the WSL banner and the enhancements made to this upcoming season are designed with one goal in mind – run as many events as possible in the largest surf on offer,” Peter Mel, former BWT Champion and WSL BWT Commissioner, said. “The schedule is designed with this in mind and we’re excited about the addition of Puerto Escondido and Lincoln City as full-fledged members of the 2015 / 2016 BWT season. It’s never been a more exciting time for big wave surfing.”

The acquisition of the BWT by the WSL will allow for top WSL surfers such as 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), Hawaiian phenom John John Florence (HAW), amongst others to potentially join respected BWT surfers like Greg Long (USA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Nic Lamb (USA) and Makua Rothman (HAW) in competition with waves in the 25-foot-and-above range.

The BWT complements the WSL properties of the men’s and women’s Championship Tours, the Qualifying Series, Longboard and Junior Championships as well as the Big Wave Awards on May 1.

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Nic Lamb Wins Punta Galea Challenge on ASP Big Wave World Tour

December 12th, 2014 No comments
Nic Lamb (USA) drops down the face of massive wave on his way to victory in the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque region of Spain on Thursday  Image: ASP / Poullenot

Nic Lamb (USA) drops down the face of massive wave on his way to victory in the Punta Galea Challenge in the Basque region of Spain on Thursday  Image: ASP / Poullenot

Nic Lamb (USA) won the Punta Galea Challenge, the second stop on the 2014 / 2015 ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT), in huge 30 to 40 foot (9 to 13 metre) waves at Getxo in the Basque region of Spain on Thursday.

Lamb finished ahead of Makuakai Rothman (HAW) and Nathan Fletcher (USA) in the giant shifting walls of water as the lead change hands numerous times in the 60 minute Final before the Californian clinched his first event win.

South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, the reigning BWWT champion and 2013 Punta Galea winner, was ousted in Round 1 of this year’s event when he struggled to find any rideable waves in the morning high-tide, onshore conditions.

Lamb opened his wave account in the Final with an incredible ride all the way from the outside on a 40-foot set wave that earned him a score of 9.77 out of 10. He took control of the heat by dropping into a lefthander that took him dangerously close to the rock-lined shore but added 7.0 points to his total.

Halfway through the encounter Rothman posted back-to-back 9 point rides to grab the lead, but Lamb selected another huge lefthander and survived a jaw-dropping late take-off to score the only perfect 10 point ride of the final and take the win.

“I’m stoked, over the moon, right now,” Lamb said. “I was in the lead in the beginning then Makua fought back with his two nines. I knew I needed a high-nine and tried to remain cold as ice and wait for the wave and it came through and paid off.”

“We had enough time, so it was just a matter of positioning myself right and wait for the wave to come,” Lamb continued. “Punta Galea is a sick wave, I love this place. There’s multiple take-off spots so it’s a little tricky. The playing field is pretty large. We still got two more events to go, my goal is to win the title and I’ll try my best to do so.”

Rothman waited for another wave but the winner of the first event in Peru earlier this year had to settle for second place in Spain. He has solidified his rankings lead heading into the final two events of the BWWT season.

“It was great, we had a good battle,” Rothman said. “I had two nines and he had one and the 10. I just want to say thanks to all the people here today that cheered us on.”

“Nic is the man for today but I’m still leading the tour and I increased my total so that’s good,” Rothman continued. “That’s my goal – to win the World Title this year. My whole life I’ve dedicated myself to big waves and I’m looking forward to hopefully compete on home soil in Hawaii.”

Nathan Fletcher waited for the final moments of the final to drop into a big left of his own, belting an 8.90 to jump on the podium in third place.

Local favorite Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) confirmed he’s the strongest big-wave surfer hailing from the Basque Country by taking fifth place overall. Gonzalez only managed one ride in the final, an eight pointer, after recording a near perfect total of 29.33 out of 30 in his semi-final, which included the only other perfect 10 point ride of the event.

“It was pretty hard today with mushy conditions in the morning and it’s a really meaty wave,” Gonzalez commented. “You had to be a little lucky to get the right waves. In the semis I got two sick ones and I’m stoked with my result today.”

Gabriel Villaran (PER) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA) completed the final, placing 4th and 6th respectively.

The Punta Galea Challenge was webcast LIVE via www.aspworldtour.com

PUNTA GALEA CHALLENGE FINAL RESULTS:
1- Nic Lamb (USA) 29.77
2- Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 28.60
3- Nathan Fletcher (USA) 25.67
4- Gabriel Villaran (PER) 23.69
5- Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 16.00
6- Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.00

PUNTA GALEA CHALLENGE SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 19.33, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 26.37, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.19, Kohl Christensen (HAW) 14.53, Greg Long (USA) 11.34, Ken Collins (USA) 3.66
SF 2: Nathan Fletcher (USA) 24.99, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 22.27, Nic Lamb (USA) 21.21, Shawn Dollar (USA) 19.17, Will Skudin (USA) 12.00, Adur Letamendia (EUK) 0.00

PUNTA GALEA CHALLENGE ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Ken Collins (USA) 16.50, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.36, Greg Long (USA) 13.84, Tyler Fox (USA) 9.34, David Bustamente (EUK) 1.66, Jaime Fernandez (EUK) 0.00
Heat 2: Kohl Christensen (HAW) 22.50, Pat Gudauskas (USA) 21.51, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.00, Aritza Saratxaga (EUK) 12.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 7.86, Grant Baker (ZAF) 0.00
Heat 3: Nic Lamb (USA) 26.69, Nathan Fletcher (USA) 19.37, Adur Letamendia (EUK) 18.27, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 13.49, Jon Garay (EUK) 11.34, Joao De Macedo (PRT) 4.14
Heat 4: Shawn Dollar (USA) 22.83, Makua Rothman (HAW) 16.80, Will Skudin (USA) 14.26, Grant Washburn (USA) 12.61, Indar Unanue (EUK) 10.84, Ramon Navarro (CHL) 6.66

ENDS

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@aspworldtour.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

SA’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker 5th As Makua Rothman Wins Billabong Pico Alto Big Wave Event in 40-Foot Surf

July 4th, 2014 No comments
Grant 'Twiggy' Baker (Durban, ZAF), reigning ASP Big Wave World Champion, drops down the face of a giant wave on his way to 5th place in the Billabong Pico Alto, the first event of the 2014/2015 ASP Big Wave World Tour which was won by Hawaii's Makua Rothman  Image: ASP / BWWT / Rommel Gonzales

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban, ZAF), reigning ASP Big Wave World Champion, drops down the face of a giant wave on his way to 5th place in the Billabong Pico Alto, the first event of the 2014/2015 ASP Big Wave World Tour which was won by Hawaii’s Makua Rothman  Image: ASP / BWWT / Rommel Gonzales

South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’, the reigning ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) champion, finished fifth as Hawaiian Makua Rothman claimed victory at the Billabong Pico Alto event in Peru, battling 40-foot seas and a field of 24 of the world’s best watermen in the first event of the 2014/2015 ASP BWWT season yesterday (Thursday)

Baker displayed the consistency that saw him reach the final in all the BWWT events last season, winning two of them, by again advancing through Round 1 and the semi-finals held in heaving 25 to 40 foot (8 to 13 metres) surf to reach the last six in the final at Peru’s renowned big wave venue of Pico Alto, 60 kms South of Lima.

Rothman’s “go-for-broke” approach throughout the contest paid off and the young Hawaiian showcased his commitment, strength and confidence as the surf grew in size during the day by netting the highest scores of the entire event in the final.

“I didn’t even know what was going on during that wave (his 9.40 out of a possible 10 in the final),” Rothman said. “I thought I was going over the falls, but I figured I’d just try and hang on. I’m just stoked to be here and stoked to win. This is my first event ever on the Big Wave World Tour and I can’t put into words what this means.”

The six-man final boasted a “who’s who” of the global big wave community with reigning world champion Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF) leading Greg Long (USA), Gabriel Villaran (PER) Shawn Dollar (USA) and Anthony Tashnick (HAW) into the brink, but it was newcomer Rothman that came out on top, announcing himself as a major threat on the BWWT.

Baker was fortunate to get through his opening encounter when the heat was extended by 30 minutes after only one ride, by Baker, was recorded in the initial 45 minutes. A flurry of sets during the extension saw him overtaken by Rafael Velarde (PER) and Jamie Sterling (HAW) but the Saffa held onto third place

He also finished third in his semi-final, behind Rothman and Long, progressing to the final where he waited patiently and caught arguably the biggest wave of the entire event. However Baker could not find a second score and placed fifth overall.

“This was so great to have waves here in Peru,” Rothman said. “I went on the ‘QS for years and just struggled, but this is where I belong. I am so honoured to surf with Greg Long and Twiggy (Grant Baker) and Dollar (Shawn Dollar) and everyone who steps up and takes off on big waves. You are all the reason I’m here today.”

A new father, Rothman left straight from the hospital to hop on a plane and travel to Peru – a risk that would pay off in a career-changing win for the new family man as well as an ignited fervour in challenging for the big wave crown.

“I just want to say I love you to my daughter who was born two days ago,” Rothman said. “I wore her hospital bracelet the whole time and now I can’t take it off. I don’t even know what to say, I’m happy.”

Highlights from the Billabong Pico Alto are available via www.ASPWorldTour.com

Billabong Pico Alto Final Results:
1. Makua Rothman (HAW) 27.33
2. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 22.00
3. Shawn Dollar (USA) 20.26
4. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 16.80
5. Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.00
6. Greg Long (USA) 7.00

Billabong Pico Alto Semi-final Results:
SF 1: Makua Rothman (HAW) 18.99, Greg Long (USA) 13.00, Grant Baker (ZAF) 12.84, Miguel Tudela (PER) 9.13, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 6.73, Rafael Velarde (PER) 5.86
SF 2: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 23.76, Shawn Dollar (USA) 21.87, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 21.44, Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.57, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 19.21, Nick Lamb (USA) 17.03

Billabong Pico Alto Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) 21.99, Makua Rothman (HAW) 17.54, Greg Long (USA) 16.51, Ken Collins (USA) 13.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.66, A. Loret de Mola (PER) N/S
Heat 2: Rafael Velarde (PER) 21.73, Jamie Sterling (HAW) 18.51, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.49, Sebastian de Romana (PER) 11.66, Ramon Navarro (CHL) 8.34, Kohl Christenson (HAW) 6.34
Heat 3: Gabriel Villaran (PER) 20.67, Nic Lamb (USA) 14.33, Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00, Tyler Fox (USA) 9.16, Ryan Augestein (USA) N/S, Tamil Martino (PER) N/S
Heat 4: Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.56, Anthony Tashnick (USA) 17.46, Shawn Dollar (USA) 16.87, Grant Washburn (USA), Kodiak Semsch (EUK) 12.33, Adur Letamendia (EUK) 11.34

The 2014/2015 BWWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components hosting three possible events within each. The Southern Hemisphere window runs from April 15 to August 31, 2014 with event options in Chile, Peru and South Africa. The Northern Hemisphere window runs from October 15, 2014 to February 28, 2015 with event options in Mexico, the Basque Region of Spain and Maui.

ENDS

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: colin@aspafrica.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

It’s Official – Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is the 2014 ASP World Big Wave Surfing Champion!

April 2nd, 2014 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker drops into a towering wall of water on his way to victory at Mavericks in California in January, one of two event wins that saw him clinch the 2014 Mystic Lubricant Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) title  Photo: Brian Overfelt

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker drops into a towering wall of water on his way to victory at Mavericks in California in January, one of two event wins that saw him clinch the 2014 Mystic Lubricant Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) title Photo: Brian Overfelt

South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker has been crowned the Mystic Lubricants Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) World Champion after racking up more than double the points of any of his competitors during the 2013/2014 Xpreshon BWWT season.

“I gave it my all this year, basically put my personal life on hold and went for it,’ said Baker after being confirmed as the champion. “I only surfed big wave boards for almost 9 months, I looked for the most testing, biggest conditions on every swell even if I knew a perfect point around the corner was going off and I worked on my mental and physical well being so I was in the best possible condition to compete.”

The 40 year-old from Durban won the opening two events on the tour at Punta Galea in Spain in December and Mavericks in California in January before placing third at Nelscott Reef in Oregon last month to take a virtually unassailable lead on the rankings.

With just one event remaining at Todos Santos in Mexico and his closest opponent, Ken Collins (USA), mathematically able to overtake him if Collins won that event and Baker did not compete, Baker had to wait until the season closed on 31 March without the event running before being officially recognised as the world champion.

“It means quite a bit to have put the time into something and be rewarded for it. And to bring the world title back to South Africa is the best part,” said the proud South African. “With Bianca (Buitendag) doing so well at the moment and Jordy (Smith) ready to pounce I believe South African surfing is in a strong place and we can build the next generation from this base.

Baker, who is also the only big wave surfer to be nominated for two awards in the 2013/2014 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards that will be announced next month, went into the season after losing his sponsor and knowing that he would have to raise his game in order to be able to continue competing internationally.

“In the past I was never really into the competitive side of surfing and preferred the more soulful aspect of the sport. But with losing my sponsor in July 2013, I realized I would have to compete and win in order to keep getting paid to surf and this was a big motivating factor,” explained Baker.

“Since winning Mavericks and upping my profile I have been fortunate enough to sign with VISSLA and Isurus wetsuits along with upping my existing sponsors with BOS Ice Tea and Future fins, so right now I’m in a great situation and I can continue to surf for another three years.”

See the full interview with Twiggy, plus video highlights of his world title winning season, at http://www.aspworldtour.com/posts/36149/grant-twiggy-baker-claims-2013-2014-asp-bwwt-title

The 2014/2015 ASP Big Wave World Tour commences on 15 April 2014 and showcases the world’s premiere big wave surfers. There are three events in the Southern Hemisphere (April through 31 August 2014) at Punta de Lobos, Chile and Pico Alto, Peru with Dungeons in Cape Town, South Africa, being added for the first time.

The Northern Hemisphere leg (1 October 2014 to 28 February 2015) includes Todos Santos, Mexico and Punta Galea, Basque Country, Spain, with Pe’ahi (aka Jaws) on the Hawaiian island of Maui also a new addition.

2013/2014 ASP BWWT
Final Rankings

1 – Grant Baker (Durban, ZAF) 2,459.00 pts
2 – Ken Collins (USA) 1,140.13 pts
3 – Nic Lamb (USA) 1,117.50 pts
4 – Shawn Dollar (USA) 938.50 pts
5 – Kohl Christensen (HAW) 864.88 pts

=31 – Frank Solomon (Cape Town, ZAF) 179.38 pts
=50 – Chris Bertish (Cape Town, ZAF) 95.0 pts

ENDS

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: colin@aspafrica.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

South Africa’s Grant Baker Dominates The Mavericks Invitational In Giant Waves

January 25th, 2014 No comments
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) shows poise under the lip of a giant wave during his Round 1 heat win in the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational in California on Friday  Credit: Grant Ellis / Surfer Mag

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) shows poise under the lip of a giant wave during his Round 1 heat win in the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational in California on Friday Credit: Grant Ellis / Surfer Mag

Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, California (Friday 24 January) – Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) won the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational presented by GoPro in giant waves with faces that exceeded 13 metres (40 foot) at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay in Santa Cruz, California on Friday.

Competing against 23 of the world’s best big wave chargers in the fourth stop on the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour, Baker gave a clinic in high performance big wave surfing throughout the event, winning his Round 1 heat, finishing second in the semis and dominating the final. The 40 year-old Durbanite caught the most waves, taking off in the perfect position, manoeuvring his way around the bone-crushing white-water and pulling into and emerging from a gaping tube.

He posted two perfect 10 point rides on the day, the first in Round 1 and the other in the final, where he finished with a near perfect tally of 29.33 out of 30.

“I’m feeling pretty good – amazing in fact!” said Baker on the headquarters boat after the final. “Two of my favourite surfers in the world, Shane Dorian and Greg Long, were in the final so to win Mavericks is the greatest feeling in the world!”

“The waves were pretty big – there were some 20 foot sets (40 foot on the face) in the final. The wind made it choppy and it looked like there was no way you could make it. We just put our heads down and had to go because it was the final. I just got lucky that I didn’t hit a bump halfway down and get catapulted.”

“I’d like to thank everyone in South Africa for their support. This is it, we are the best.” Baker said after being chaired around the boat by Capetonians Frank Solomon (an alternate competitor for the event) and Chris Bertish, the 2010 Mavericks champion who was eliminated in Round 1 today after a 36 hour flight from his hometown, leaving on Wednesday and arriving in Santa Cruz on Thursday evening.

The victory was Baker’s second at Mavericks after his triumph in 2006 and also his second in succession on the BWWT following his win in the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Spain in December. He now holds a substantial lead in the 2013/14 rankings.

Shane Dorian (Hawaii) finished runner-up despite only arriving at the event venue at 5am on Friday after spending eight hours on Thursday paddling into enormous waves at Jaws on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

The huge waves and tricky wind conditions produced some spectacular wipeouts including Mark Healy’s two wave-hold down, Anthony Tashnick’s upside down over-the-falls tumble and Shawn Dollar’s death defying dive when he was catapulted off his board.

See highlights footage of the final of the 2014 Body Glove Mavericks Invitational at http://www.mavericksinvitational.com/heat-analyzer/

The Xpreshon BWWT continues with the Seatka Pro at Nelscott Reef in Oregon, USA, and the Dive & Surf @ Todos Santos in Mexico, both of which have holding periods that run until 31 March 2014 to wait for ideal conditions. See further details at http://bigwaveworldtour.com/

Body Glove Mavericks Invitational
Results

1. Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) – 29.33 pts
2. Shane Dorian (Hawaii) – 25.53
3. Ryan Augenstein (California) – 16.66
4. Tyler Fox (California) – 12.66
5. Greg Long (California) – 12.00
6. Anthony Tashnick (California) – 0.0

ENDS

Issued on behalf of:

ASP Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: colin@aspafrica.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.