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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

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Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
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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

Gabriel Medina Triumphs Over Kelly Slater in Monstrous Surf at Billabong Pro Tahiti

August 26th, 2014 No comments
ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA), 20, storms to victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti after defeating the 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in a thrilling final.  Image: ASP / Kirstin Scholtz

ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA), 20, storms to victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti after defeating the 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in a thrilling final.  Image: ASP / Kirstin Scholtz

TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Monday, August 25, 2014): The world’s best surfers put everything on the line as they battled the world’s most dangerous wave in an historic Finals day at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, stop No. 7 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).

The 12-man field still in contention on the Final Day took on perilous conditions and monster 12-to-15 foot barreling waves, the biggest of the season, in pursuit of victory. It was Gabriel Medina (BRA) who clinched the victory and claimed the coveted title of Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion after an unbelievable day of competition and what is being dubbed the best WCT contest in history.

The win over 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is Medina’s third WCT victory of the year, after triumphing at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Billabong Rio Pro, and sees him extend his lead in the 2014 ASP World Title race.

The pair were neck and neck throughout the Final, with each posting a series of excellent nine-point scores. Medina held the lead with the tiniest of margins, 0.03, and the heat came down to the last wave from Slater and a nail-biting wait for the score. The American needed a 9.33 but came in just shy at 9.30 and Medina took the win to solidify his place as ASP World No. 1 going in to the final four events of the season. The Brazilian previously dispatched Kolohe Andino (USA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS) on route to the thrilling finale.

“I don’t really know what to say,” said Gabriel Medina. “I’m so blessed to have these conditions at ‘Chopes and surf against all these guys. This is such a special event and I’m just so happy right now. Kelly (Slater) is a legend of surfing and it’s the best feeling ever to win. The waves were big and perfect and this feeling is amazing. I love surfing and to get these waves is incredible. I want to thank ASP for the event and I’m so happy to be part of this.”

Today marked Slater’s first WCT final of the year and his best result of the 2014 season. The result moves the four-time Billabong Pro Tahiti winner up from sixth to second place on the ASP WCT rankings, putting him in serious World Title contention. Slater left the competition with two Perfect 10s and 14 excellent nine-point rides after overcoming John John Florence (HAW) and Owen Wright (AUS) before facing Medina in the Final.

“What can you say? The ocean delivered for us today… this week,” said Kelly Slater. “It was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it and today will go down as one of the best days of surfing in my career, no question. Congratulations to Gabriel (Medina). He was in rhythm all event and specifically in the Final, and he’s on fire this year. We switch gears big time for Trestles next and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. There’s a lot of work ahead.”

Fearless charger Bede Durbige (AUS) secured his best ever result at the Billabong Pro Tahiti after making it to the Semifinals where he was knocked out by eventual event winner Medina. Despite a number of brilliant performances through the competition, and a Perfect 10 in the Quarterfinals, he was unable to match the scores of the Brazilian and finshed in equal 3rd. The result sees him move up one place to World No. 13.

“Gabriel (Medina) is such a tactician in his approach and it worked perfectly,” said Bede Durbidge. “It’s such a bummer but I’m so glad to be part of this day. It was so special to surf against one of my best mates (Adrian Buchan) in the heat before and we’ve been surfing together since we were 13. This is such a great day for ASP and I’m stoked to be a part of it.”

Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence faced eventual runner-up Slater in the second Semifinal which was one of the most exciting heats ever seen at Teahupo’o. Florence delivered an epic performance and posted four nine-point rides, including a near-perfect 9.90. The heat ended in a tied, with each surfing holding a 19.70 heat total, but Slater edged the win with the highest single-wave score, a Perfect 10. The equal third place finish puts Florence in 12th place on the WCT rankings.

“I don’t really know how I feel but that whole heat and everything that happened was crazy,” said John John Florence. “I’m so so stoked. My first ride was so good; it was insane. It was so glassy and nice out there.”

The Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award is given out every year to the standout surfer of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Previous winners include John John Florence (2013), Ricardo dos Santos (2012) and Jeremy Flores (2011). This year’s award goes to Owen Wright (AUS) for his commitment, passion and courage during the event. Wright was knocked out of the competition by Slater in the Quarterfinals, but not before he posted a Perfect 10 in Heat 4.

“This feels amazing and I’m so honored to get this award,” said Owen Wright. “During this event so many guys have gone hard. I’ve watched Andy (Irons) for so long and I can’t imagine what he’d be doing if he was here. To get fifth place here feels so special and this award just tops it off.”

South Africa’s Jordy Smith was eliminated in Round 2 and ended the event in equal 25th place. Travis Logie, a Semifinalist in Tahiti in 2011, injured his foot on the reef in Round 1 and was forced to withdraw from the event.

The next stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour will be the Hurley Pro at Trestles from September 9 – 20, 2014. The event will be webcast LIVE on ASPWorldTour.com

Billabong Pro Tahiti Final Result:
1- Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.96
2- Kelly Slater (USA)18.93

Billabong Pro Tahiti Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.67 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4.17
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.77 def. John John Florence (HAW) 19.77

Billabong Pro Tahiti Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 19.87 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.43
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.27 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.27
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) 19.67 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 17.76
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.80 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 16.10

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.40 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.66
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.53 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 6.16
Heat 3: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 19.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 14.77
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.87 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 12.83

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.66, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.73, Tiago Pires (PRT) 6.84
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.37, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.57, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.00
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.16, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.10, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.67
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.44, Owen Wright (AUS) 16.74, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.50

ASP World Championship Tour Rankings (after event #7 – Tahiti)
1. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 46150 points
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 38350
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 36150
4. Michel Bourez (PYF) 34500
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 34400
6. Taj Burrow (AUS) 33700

14. Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) 18900
31. Travis Logie (Durban, ZAF) 8250

Watch all the highlights from the Billabong Pro Tahiti at www.aspworldtour.com.

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.

South Africa’s Grant Baker Wins Arnette Punta Galea Challenge In Massive Surf

December 23rd, 2013 No comments
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) rides one of his event winning waves at the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Basque Country, Spain on Sunday  Credit: Steve Robertson

Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) rides one of his event winning waves at the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Basque Country, Spain on Sunday Credit: Steve Robertson

Punta Galea, Spain (Sunday, December 22, 2013) – A spectacular day of surfing on the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour saw South Africa’s Grant “Twiggy” Baker take the win at the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Basque Country, Spain on Sunday.

The large Atlantic Ocean swell pumped consistent big waves into the Punta Galea Harbour point with surfers agreeing that wave faces were in the 30 feet range all day.

Baker, 40 years of age and from Durban in South Africa, controlled the 45 minute final from start to finish utilising perfect positioning and taking the biggest and best waves to finish with a near perfect score of 29.01 out of a possible 30.

“What a day for me, it just got better each heat and in the final I felt like I actually peaked and it just worked out perfectly” said Baker. “This wave surprised us. It is a legitimate big wave in the world of big wave surfing and we all really enjoyed the challenge.”

Today’s win sees Baker leading the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour rankings for this season and well positioned to win this year’s Big Wave World Tour Title.

“It’s the aim to try and win the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour Title and today’s win certainly has me well placed, but there are three event to go and I really have to focus on each event and be ready for when they might run.”

Baker (centre) celebrates  with runner-up Nic Lamb (left) and Ken Collins, both from Santa Cruz California  Photo: Steve Robertson

Baker (centre) celebrates with runner-up Nic Lamb (left) and Ken Collins, both from Santa Cruz California Photo: Steve Robertson

Finishing second and third and not far behind Baker were USA/Santa Cruz pair Nic Lamb, 2nd place on a final tally of 28.21, and Ken Collins on 24.87 in 3rd.

“I would have love to have won today and I think it got down to Baker’s last wave where he was in a slightly better position than myself to catch that wave” said 25-year-old Lamb.

“I’m still happy with second. Ken (Collins) and myself are here representing Santa Cruz and to place 2nd and 3rd sees us both well in touch on the world rankings and I’m looking forward to the next three events, two of which are on our home coastline in North America – Mavericks and Oregon.”

Punta Galea offered an amazing spectacle for the large crowds, estimated above 10 000, who lined the picturesque 400 meter cliff face that overlooks the break in an amazing natural auditorium setting.

Local Basque surfer Adur Letamendia from nearby Zarautz was the highest placed European making the final and placing 4th ahead of Ramon Navarro from Chile and David Bustamante (Basque/Spain).

Australian waterman Jamie Mitchell placed 7th overall, narrowly missing the final when he was edged out in his Semi-final by Navarro.

The water safety team were kept extremely busy all day with numerous snapped leashes and a particularly dangerous inside rocky section to the break where many surfers had to be towed from. One such incident saw rider and ski come to grief on the rocky point.
Apart from that, the day was managed superbly by competitors and organisers.

Three event locations remain on the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour, Mavericks in California, Nelscott Reef in Oregon and Todos Santos (Mexico) with a waiting period through to March 31st.

The events only run if and when a large swell and good surface conditions coincide with surfers given a few days notice to get to the location and surf.

Results: Arnette Punta Galea Challenge
1st Grant Baker (South Africa/Durban) 29.01
2nd Nic Lamb (USA/Santa Cruz) 28.21
3rd Ken Collins (USA/Santa Cruz) 24.87
4th Adur Latamendia (Spain/Zarautz) 23.57
5th Ramon Navarro (Chile) 14.34
6th David Bustamante (Spain) 0.00

About Xpreshon:
The biggest waves in the world deserve the biggest screen in your house. With XPRESHON you could be watching the XPRESHON Big Wave World Tour live on your TV. But whatever your style – skate, surf, snow, BMX or Moto – only XPRESHON has it all – All the news, All the latest movies and live events from all around the world. Miss Nothing with XPRESHON! Exclusively on XBOX and Windows 8.

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.

Dorian and Dollar Dominate at Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards 2013

May 5th, 2013 No comments
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii) won the Pacifico Tube and Ride of the Year titles.

Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii) won the Pacifico Tube and Ride of the Year titles.

Anaheim, CA, USA — (Saturday, May 4, 2013) — Hawaiian surfer Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) has walked away with one of the sport’s most-prized accolades, the 40 year old winning the Ride of the Year award at the annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards ceremony, held at The Grove theatre in Anaheim, California last night.

Dorian received USD$50,000 for the monumental wave he successfully paddled into and surfed at Jaws, Maui, last October. Dorian’s wave also included a gigantic tube ride, which earned him an additional $5,000 and the award for Pacifico Tube.

Dorian’s feat edged out other Billabong XXL Ride of the Year nominees; rides by Californian surfers Shawn Dollar at huge Cortes Bank, CA., Greg Long at Jaws, Maui, and fellow Hawaiians Dave Wassel and Reef McIntosh who both surfed memorable waves during an historic swell at Cloudbreak in Fiji, June 2012.

It was a special night that highlighted a breakthrough year for Dorian, he made XXL history by becoming the first surfer in a single year to be nominated in five categories; Ride of the Year, Pacifico Paddle, Pacifico Tube, XXL Biggest Wave and Surfline Men’s Performance.

Dorian, who is already a multiple XXL Award winner, (he is previous two-time winner of the Surfline Men’s Performance award 2011 & 2004, Ride of the Year winner 2008, Tube 2006) accepted his awards on stage in front of nearly 2,000 industry VIPs, invited guests and peers at the gala show considered the Oscars of surfing.

“I had such anxiety heading up onto the stage, all the boys were up there and all the rides were so incredible, it must have been so difficult to choose between them. It was an amazing year, to win Ride of the Year is huge for me,” said Dorian.

“For Shawn Dollar to paddle into the biggest wave, tow or paddle, all year is absolutely incredible. We’re seeing a change, we’re seeing the best big wave surfing we’ve ever seen. I’m pretty psyched still, I feel like a grom at heart,” he added.

NEW WORLD RECORD
While Dorian’s ride was exceptional, it was not considered the Biggest. Ride of the Year runner-up, Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA), scooped that honor to win the XXL Biggest Wave Award as well as the Pacifico Paddle Award for a Cortes Bank behemoth.

XXL1305050 - XXLPaddleWinnerShawnDollarCrop - 600

Dollar’s history-making wave was estimated by experts to be 61 feet in height, a new paddle world record. Cortes Bank is the legendary seamount and mega-wave magnet located 100 miles southwest of Los Angeles.

Dollar previously set the world paddle-in record of 57 feet at Maverick’s in Northern California in 2010, only to have Dorian snatch the spot in the record books in 2011 with a 58 footer at Jaws.

This is the first time in the event’s 13-year history that any waves caught by paddle power have been nominated in the XXL Biggest Wave division, until now that division had been only accessed by surfers using tow-in assists by personal watercraft.

“Is this really happening? Are we really paddling into waves bigger than what we used to tow?” exclaimed Dollar. “It’s surreal, it’s such an honor. This is what I’m passionate about, I’m as big a fan as anyone – to be the guy that set the record? Phenomenal. Stoked. Over the moon. 61 feet? It’s hard to put numbers on those things, but it was the biggest wave I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Dollar.

“When I first saw it, I was absolutely scared to death. I thought I was toasted, I thought it was going to break on my head … 100 miles out to sea … it was worst case scenario type stuff. But the thing backed off and I turned my board around and whipped it and I went from a situation where I thought I wasn’t going to make it, to a situation where I went ‘Fu#k! I just rode the wave of my life!'” explained Dollar.

Dollar dedicated his wave to fallen big wave surfer and friend, Sion Milosky, who drowned at Mavericks in March 2011.

Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA) captured both the Pacifico Paddle and XXL Biggest Wave Awards.
“Death and drowning are absolutely prevalent. I’ve seen people die out there with me. It’s the real deal out there. I’ve kissed the ground when I’ve come in,” said Dollar.

San Clemente surfer, Greg Long, 29, cemented his reputation as a bona fide living legend when he was awarded the Surfline Men’s Performance Award.

XXL130505 - PerformanceWinnerGregLong - 600

Long’s season has included standout performances right round the globe. He distinguished himself during landmark sessions at Jaws, Mavericks, Pico Alto, Mexico, Fiji and Cortes Bank, where nearly lost his life.

After a three-wave hold down, Long was resuscitated at sea before being airlifted 100 miles to the mainland by US Coast Guard helicopter. Long walked the red carpet at the XXL awards with three of his rescuers – Pilot Lt. Joseph Plunkett, Rescue Swimmer Michael Linehan and Flight Mechanic Kevin Bates.

“Simply put, at Cortes, I drowned. Had I not had a water safety team near right there in that very moment I wouldn’t be here today. That’s just a reality of what we do out there. We’re dealing with forces of nature that are far greater than you. You can train and prepare and I do, intensively. But I found myself in a situation that I personally couldn’t get myself out of,” said Long.

“I’m so glad it happened. It forced me to open my eyes, to not just the surfing world, but the safety aspect and it has helped others too. We’re here to learn and grow and share that information with others. I took life lessons from that moment.”

While Long lost consciousness, his heart did not actually stop.

“There was a very surreal, spiritual moment where I wasn’t present in the physical body that I know and I was actually looking alongside it. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. It was intense while it was happening, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time mentally I was always okay with what was happening, as strange as that sounds,” Long said.

Long is one of the most regular nominees in the XXL’s 13 year history, having won numerous Awards including Ride of the Year 2009, Monster Paddle and Best Overall performer 2008 and Biggest Wave 2007.

Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Hawaii) claimed her second Billabong Girls Performance award. The unmistakable, hard charging goofy-foot has come close on numerous occasions, putting in do-or-die performances at venues she has become synonymous such as Teahupo’o in Tahiti and of course her native Hawaii.

“Big wave surfing is something I’m passionate about and I’d do it if there were no awards. But it was an incredible year and some crazy big wave surfing went down so it’s nice to be recognized,” said Kennelly.

“I think people have a preconception about what women can do in the water so I like to shatter the s#!t out of that and always try and do better and inspire. I’d also like to dedicate this award to my son,” added Kennelly.

Australian Chris Shanahan (Denmark, WA, AUS) accepted his award for XXL Wipeout of the Year over the phone, all the way from the Land Down Under.

Shanahan’s attempt to abort one of the ugliest, meanest below-sea-level slabs very nearly brought the house down. The Aussie natural footer mistimed his entry into the wave, tried to pull out and was forced to hit the eject button and ended up freefalling into the abyss without his board, making for a truly memorable and gut-wrenching XXL moment.

The wipeout eclipsed other horrifying entries from Hawaii, Portugal, California and West Australia.

In all, over $120,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to the world’s greatest big wave surfers in this the 13th edition of the Billabong XXL Awards presented by Pacifico.

A truly global event, this year’s Billabong XXL entries included hundreds of images and video clips of scores of surfers in action in dozens of countries spanning all the world’s oceans.

The competition window closed on March 20, the start of spring, with every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in the previous 12 months in contention.

The show was webcast live via BillabongXXL.com, and will be broadcast as a one-hour program on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 9 at Noon PT.

The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards is presented by Pacifico Beer. Pelican Products is the official provider of waterproof cases. Surfline.com is the exclusive surf forecaster of the XXL. The event is sponsored by Surfing Magazine and Air Tahiti Nui Airlines.

RESULTS:

2013 BILLABONG XXL GLOBAL BIG WAVE AWARDS
Presented by Pacifico

RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER: Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($50,000) Video by Elliot Leboe ($5,000)
Second place: Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 ($5,000)
Third place: Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 10, 2012 ($1,500)
Fourth place: Dave Wassel (Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji June 8, 2012 ($1,500)
Fifth place: Reef McIntosh (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) at Cloudbreak, Fiji June 8, 2012 ($1,500)

PACIFICO PADDLE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (Wave was 61ft, new paddle world record) ($20,000)
Photographed by Frank Quirarte ($4,000)

XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) at Cortes Bank, Dec 21st, 2012 (First time a paddle surfer has won this category) ($10,000)
Photographed by Rob Keith ($4,000)

PACIFICO TUBE AWARD
Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii Oct 9, 2012 ($5,000)
Photographed by Fred Pompermayer ($2,000)

SURFLINE MEN’S PERFORMANCE AWARD
Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) ($5,000)

BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE
Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Hawaii, USA) ($5,000)

XXL WIPEOUT AWARD
Chris Shanahan (Denmark, WA, Australia) at The Right, West Australia ($2,000)
Video by Darren McCagh ($1,000)

**********************

For more information contact
Bill Sharp
surfnewsed@aol.com
949-230-6162

Career best result for Travis Logie at Billabong Pro Tahiti – Jordy Smith retains No. 2 ranking

August 30th, 2011 No comments

Durban’s Travis Logie recorded his career best result in an ASP World Title Series event when he placed third in the Billabong Pro Tahiti which was won by reigning and 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in classic two metre waves at Teahupoo in French Polynesia yesterday (Monday).

Meanwhile fellow South African Jordy Smith retained his ASP No. 2 ranking despite being eliminated by Logie in a re-run Round 3 heat after Smith suffered a dislocated rib in powerful three metre surf on Sunday.

Logie, 32, ranked No. 44 prior to the event and desperate to make the top 32 cut-off before 15 September that would enable him to compete in the World Title race for the last five events of the year, received a late call-up following the withdrawal of Bobby Martinez (USA).

Encouraged by his wife, Logie flew from Europe, where he was competing in the Star and Prime rated events, to Tahiti, arriving without surfboards and riding, and breaking, several of good friend Alan Riou’s boards as he progressed through the event .

Logie’s fairytale run to the semifinals saw him win his Round 1 heat over fourth seed Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Jadson Andre (BRA) to advance directly to Round 3. There he lost in the injury affected heat against Smith which the ASP decided to re-run and Logie, himself suffering from cuts, bruises and a strained AC shoulder joint resulting from a wipe-out during the heat, won through to Round 4.

Victory over Brett Simpson (USA) and Chris Davidson (AUS) in the three-man ‘demo’ round heat saw Logie skip Round 5 and progress directly to the quarterfinals. On the final day of the event he again defeated Simpson to reach the first semifinal of his five year career in ASP Title Race events, before meeting his match against in form Australian Owen Wright.

“It’s been an unbelievable week for me,” Logie said. “I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. I was in Europe, I barely made it here in time, I’ve been on borrowed equipment, I’ve been banged up on the reef, I had a re-surf with my good mate Jordy (Smith) and I’ve also scored the best result of my career. It’s all happened very fast. So yeah, I’m happy with how everything’s worked out, but would have liked to have made that Final.”

Logie is now ranked No. 34 and right on the cusp of re-qualifying for the elite tour when the ASP mid season rotation is implemented after the Quiksilver Pro New York, surfing’s first event to offer US $1 million in prize-money, which runs from 4-15 September. He will be hoping that the carnage suffered by the top 32 surfers in the phenomenal surf in Tahiti will enable him to get an injury-replacement spot in that event and to force his way into the top 32.

Smith entered Tahiti ranked No. 2 and briefly held the No. 1 spot in the 2011 ASP World Title rankings when the then No. 1, Joel Parkinson (AUS), was eliminated from the event in Round 2. However, the controversial re-run of his Round 3 heat against Logie robbed the 23 year-old, who now lives in Cape Town, of the opportunity to extend his rankings lead and he was ultimately overtaken when Slater won the event.

Smith is reportedly in America for diagnosis on his rib injury. Similar injuries can take four to six weeks to recover which would see him miss the next two events in New York and at Trestles in California during September

Slater, ranked No. 6 before Tahiti, benefited from the early elimination of Parkinson, Smith, Taj Burrow (AUS) and Flores to leapfrog them all into the rankings lead thanks to his haul of 10 000 precious points for the victory.

“It’s one of those weird events where you have to scramble through the early rounds,” Slater said. “Every year at this event, there are few of the top guys that lose in the early rounds and you have to scramble if you want a result here. You have to be in tune with the tides, swell direction and everything to make sure you get those waves that get you the score.”
 
Today’s win marked Slater’s 47th elite tour victory (out of 67 Finals appearances).

The Billabong Pro Tahiti experienced what is being called the best surf in the 14 year-history of the event. Pristine two metre waves set the scene for Round 1 before huge and unruly waves provided a stiff test for Round 2.

The French Government then issued a Code Red alert for Saturday, keeping all commercial craft in the harbour, which resulted in some of the biggest waves ever seen at Teahupoo being surfed by specialist tow-in teams who had jetted into the South Pacific island specifically for the occasion.

Sunday saw Rounds 3, 4 and 5 being held in what Slater called “…probably the best I’ve ever surfed it – it’s just so big and perfect.” Windless conditions bright sunshine and incredibly hollow two to three metre (6 – 10 foot) waves provided the world’s best competitive surfers with ideal conditions.

The final day was held in still perfect but slightly smaller 2.0 to 2.5 metre waves that continued to pump all day.

Flores, who became just the third surfer at elite tour level to record a perfect heat of 20 points out of a possible 20 on Sunday morning, collected the coveted Andy Irons Award for most committed performance of the event. This is the inaugural year for the award which honours the late Andy irons (HAW), the three-time ASP World Champion and last year’s Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion.

Every ride from the Billabong Pro Tahiti can be viewed at www.billabongpro.com, along with news, images and results from each day’s action, including the tow-in sessions.

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.43
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 17.10
 
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.60
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.50 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.40
 
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.94 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.83
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.17
QF 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 18.07 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 17.14
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.74 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.10
 
ASP WORLD TITLE RANKINGS TOP 5 (After Billabong Pro Tahiti)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 26,950 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26,500 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 22,750 pts
5. Owen Wright (AUS) 21,900 pts

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: Broadcast quality and web quality footage of the Billabong Pro Tahiti is available for Media outlets. Contact Life’s a Beach Communications for download details.

Issued on behalf of:

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

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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.