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Grant “Twiggy” Baker Wins BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge

June 25th, 2016 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker charges into an enormous tube for a perfect 10 point ride that won him the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico on Friday  Photo: WSL / Hinkle

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker charges into an enormous tube for a perfect 10 point ride that won him the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico on Friday  Photo: WSL / Hinkle

– South African Clinches Victory with Perfect 10 to Defeat Big Wave Field
– Highlights from the Puerto Escondido Challenge Available at Worldsurfleague.Com

PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Oaxaca/Mexico (Saturday, June 25, 2016) – Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF) claimed victory today at the Puerto Escondido Challenge, defeating a field of 24 of the world’s best big wave surfers in towering 6m – 10m (20-to-30 foot) surf off the coast of Mainland Mexico’s Puerto Escondido.

The first event of the 2016/17 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT), the Puerto Escondido Challenge, tested the top big wave chargers with enormous and difficult beach-break conditions. A solid swell from the South Pacific delivered massive surf over two days for the inaugural BWT event at the exceptionally powerful beach-break known as “The Mexican Pipeline.”

Baker, 2013/14 BWT Champion, put on a stunning performance in Mexico, storming to victory in the Semifinals before his impressive showing in the Final.

“Yesterday was pretty difficult out there so I didn’t have a great heat but I made it through,” said Baker. “This morning when I woke up and saw it was my favorite size for Puerto and I was so happy.”

The South African showcased technical and precise surfing throughout the Final. Baker captured early control over the field and continued to solidify his lead with incredible rides. Baker locked in multiple excellent-range scores, but it was the perfect 10.00 awarded for escaping a massive tube that cemented his victory. Baker’s final combined score was an impressive 27.50 out of a possible 30.

“I’ve been coming here for 20 years and I love it,” continued Baker. “The waves are amazing and I want to thank all the locals for being so hospitable and making us feel so welcome. To my wife and baby at home, this one’s for you.”

Baker came into the event as an injury wildcard and his winning performance will kick off his 2016/17 BWT Title campaign with 12,500 points and first place on the BWT rankings.

Baker’s fellow finalists represented elite competitors of the big wave community, including Greg Long (USA), Pedro Calado (BRA), Carlos Burle (BRA), Will Skudin (USA) and Makuakai Rothman (HAW).

Greg Long (USA), two-time BWT Champion, captured second place at the event. Long’s chances were in doubt during the Semifinals when he had yet to catch a wave with five minutes left in the hour-long heat, but his experience at Puerto Escondido enabled him to catch a single excellent-range wave at the last minute which was enough to put him through to the Final over other competitors with two lesser rides. Long’s runner up finish in the Final puts him in second place on the leaderboard and in position to defend his existing WSL Big Wave Title.

“I am happy with my result here in Puerto Escondido,” Long said. “I had a couple of really fun waves. I had to work hard for them, but it was worth it. I have a special place in my heart for Puerto Escondido. I came down here for the first time when I was 17-years-old and I am 33 now and I have literally not missed a big swell. This event was pretty spectacular by all accounts and one of the top days I’ve ever surfed.”

Pedro Calado (BRA) charged throughout the contest to capture the third place position. The young Brazilian cemented his reputation as the best teenage big wave surfer in the world, demonstrating commitment and fearlessness as he charged through heavy barrels and dispatched top-seeded competitors.

2009/10 BWT Champion Carlos Burle (BRA) rode three waves in the Final for a 16.87 heat total and fourth place.

Will Skudin (USA) finished in fifth place with a 12.97 heat total in the Final. Skudin, a native of Long Beach, New York, carries the torch for America’s East Coast onto the top ranks of the Big Wave Tour in 5th place on the leaderboard.

Last year’s BWT runner-up and 2014/15 BWT Champion, Makuakai Rothman (HAW), suffered an injury twenty minutes into the Final and was not able to come back to the competition. Rothman charged through a deep, heavy barrel, but was wiped out by a powerful wall of water. Rothman was in fine form in Mexico for this event, winning both his Round 1 and Semifinal heats. Rothman will walk away with a 6th place finish.

“I just want to apologize for not being able to put on a show for all the folks at home,” Rothman said. “I did my best and I was trying to represent Hawaii. I just went up and over the falls, and my ten-foot-board hit me in the ribs. Thank you to the WSL, this was a great call. Thank you to all the fans out there who make this possible for us and make it possible for us to live our dreams.”

Local wildcards Jimel Corzo and Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) suffered Semifinal eliminations today after strong performances yesterday. Corzo put up a hard fight until the dying minutes of the heat, but could not close the 2.44 point gap required to advance. Ramirez caught two massive rides in the opening Semifinal heat, but his effort was not enough to make it through to the Final.

Jamie Mitchell (AUS), who gained entry into the 2016/17 BWT as a WSL Big Wave Awards Performer of the Year nominee, suffered a Semifinal elimination today after a stunning Round 1 performance. Mitchell, who posted the best heat score of the event in Round 1 Heat 4, a near-perfect 29.03, was eliminated in his Semifinal against Rothman, Calado and Burle.

Two events, the Quiksilver Punta de Lobos Challenge in Chile and the Billabong Pico Alto Challenge Peru remain in the Southern Hemisphere window with potential to run, conditions permitting, before the August 31st close of the window.

Highlights from the Puerto Escondido Challenge are available at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Puerto Escondido Challenge Final Results:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 27.50
2 – Greg Long (USA) 25.03
3 – Pedro Calado (BRA) 24.77
4 – Carlos Burle (BRA) 16.87
5 – Will Skudin (USA) 12.97
6 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 7.66

Puerto Escondido Challenge Semifinal Results:
Semifinal 1: Grant Baker (ZAF) 26.34, Will Skudin (USA) 16.07, Greg Long (USA) 16.00, Kai Lenny (HAW) 14.74, Albee Layer (HAW) 13.41, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 10.83
Semifinal 2: Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 22.33, Pedro Calado (BRA) 21.01, Carlos Burle (BRA) 13.63, Jimel Corzo (MEX) 14.83, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 13.74, Rusty Long (USA) 11.46

The 2016/17 BWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components hosting three possible events within each. The Southern Hemisphere window runs from April 27 to August 31, 2016 with event options in Mexico, Chile and Peru. The

Northern Hemisphere window runs from October 15, 2016 to February 27, 2017 with event options in Portugal, Hawaii and Mexico.

2016/2017 WSL Big Wave Tour Schedule:
Southern Hemisphere: April 27 – August 31, 2016
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Quiksilver Punta de Lobos Challenge: Punta de Lobos, Chile
Billabong Pico Alto Challenge: Pico Alto, Peru
Northern Hemisphere: October 15, 2016 – February 28, 2017
Pe’ahi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii
Todos Santos Challenge: Todos Santos, Mexico
Nazaré Challenge: Nazaré, Portugal

ENDS

NB : High resolution images are available for media outlets

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the 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.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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

#labcomm

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Advances to Semi-Finals of WSL Big Wave Event in Mexico

June 25th, 2016 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker charges an unruly 10 metre wave on his way to the semifinals of the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico on Friday Photo: WSL / Hinkle

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker charges an unruly 10 metre wave on his way to the semifinals of the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico on Friday Photo: WSL / Hinkle

– Long, Rothman, Skudin & Mitchell Drop Massive Scores
– Swell Building for Dramatic Finish on Saturday
– Watch Highlights from Puerto Escondido Challenge at WorldSurfLeague.Com

PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Oaxaca/Mexico (Friday, June 24, 2016) – South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker started his campaign for the 2016/17 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) title with a solid second place finish in his Round 1 heat of the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico on Friday.

Held in monstrous 10 metre (30-foot-plus) unruly waves and challenging beach break conditions, the 2013 BWT champion from Durban showcased his big wave skills, finding several huge hollow tubes, and demonstrating his commitment and bravado by taking several bone-crushing wipe-outs.

Will Skudin (USA) claimed the heat win with a 22.07 heat total over Baker by only 0.74 points. Rogercin Ramirez (MEX), event wildcard and local favorite, opened Heat 2 with a huge barrel, pulling off a technical exit to earn an authoritative 9.00, which brought the large hometown crowd to their feet.

Ramirez held the lead against the field, but with 15 fifteen minutes left in the 75 minute heat, Skudin and Baker fought back to secure the first and second positions. Skudin, Baker and Ramirez advanced to the Semifinals while BWT heavyweights Billy Kemper (HAW) and Damien Hobgood (USA), along with local wildcard Coco Nogales (MEX) were knocked out of the competition.

“It was hard to find those corners out there,” Skudin said. “It was big and heavy, and I just put my head down and kept on going. I was hoping that eventually I’d lock one down and make a good barrel. Unfortunately, I didn’t make a really good barrel, but I made it through the heat.”

Reigning BWT Champion Greg Long (USA) led the field with back-to-back solid scores in Round 1 Heat 1 and was the first surfer to secure his place in the Semifinals. Long set the pace for the opening heat of the event by picking off multiple right-hand barrels to earn a 20.01 heat score (out of a possible 30).

Albee Layer (HAW) secured a 12.83 heat score and the second position. Kai Lenny (HAW) and Gabriel Villaran (PER) battled for third place, but it was Lenny who showcased full commitment as he pulled into a deep barrel and edged out Villaran by only 3.10 points.

“The waves are really good right now and there are a lot of corners if you know where to sit,” Long said. “I actually deliberately rode a much bigger board than I ever do out here. There is a lot more volume so I could cover the ground that I needed to. It is something new for me, but in a heat if you can’t catch a wave, nothing else matters. My strategy was to keep moving around wherever it was clean and I locked in four waves.”

2014/15 BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) charged through Heat 3, with Pedro Calado (BRA) and BWT veteran Carlos Burle (BRA) close behind. Rothman, last year’s BWT runner-up, locked in a near-perfect 9.50 and a solid 7.80 back-up score. Calado fired with an excellent 9.07 and 6.93 to earn the second position. With only 0.29 points between Burle and event wildcard Angelo Lozano (MEX), Burle’s 23.56 heat total was enough to advance to the Semifinals.

“This is my second time to Mexico and the waves are really fun,” said Rothman. “I was just in the right place at the right time. I am not thinking about the end result. I am just thinking about my first wave tomorrow morning and hopefully I am in the right spot. The local boys charge.”

Jamie Mitchell (AUS) netted the highest single-wave score of Round 1, a perfect 10.00, with an extremely technical barrel ride in Heat 4. Mitchell’s final heat tally, a near-perfect 29.03, was the highest of the day, earning him the heat win and a place in the Semifinals. The bout also saw high-scoring rides from local wildcard Jimel Corzo (MEX) and Rusty Long (USA), who will also progressed to the Semifinals.

“I think we were all worried about the fourth heat with the wind coming up, but I think we scored the best conditions of the day,” Mitchell said. “The tide was dropping, the winds stayed glassy and the swell was peaking. I found an early right hander and nearly made it out, which put me into a good rhythm. I found that left and didn’t think I was going to make it, but somehow I pulled out of that. It was an historic day. Incredible surf and incredible barrels.”

Event officials will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. local time (about 3pm SA time) for a possible 7:30 a.m. start.

For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com where the Puerto Escondido Challenge will be webcast LIVE.

The event is also being carried by the WSL’s LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, Starhub, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.

Puerto Escondido Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Greg Long (USA) 20.01, Albee Layer (HAW) 12.83, Kai Lenny (HAW) 12.66, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 9.56, Jose Ramirez (MEX) 8.77, Koa Rothman (HAW) 6.46
Heat 2: Will Skudin (USA) 22.07, Grant Baker (ZAF) 21.33, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 20.73, Billy Kemper (HAW) 18.87, Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.23, Coco Nogales (MEX) 11.01
Heat 3: Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 26.80, Pedro Calado (BRA) 25.07, Carlos Burle (BRA) 23.56, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 23.27, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 16.93, Tom Lowe (GRB) 12.74
Heat 4: Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 29.03, Jimel Corzo (MEX) 24.43, Rusty Long (USA) 23.84, Cristian Merello (CHL) 21.34, Nic Lamb (USA) 14.13, Oscar Moncada (MEX) 7.00

Puerto Escondido Challenge Semifinal Match-Ups:
Semifinal 1: Greg Long (USA), Albee Layer (HAW), Kai Lenny (HAW), Will Skudin (USA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Rogercin Ramirez (MEX)
Semifinal 2: Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Carlos Burle (BRA), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Jimel Corzo (MEX), Rusty Long (USA)

2016/2017 WSL Big Wave Tour Schedule:
Southern Hemisphere: April 27 – August 31, 2016
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Quiksilver Punta de Lobos Challenge: Punta de Lobos, Chile
Billabong Pico Alto Challenge: Pico Alto, Peru
Northern Hemisphere: October 15, 2016 – February 28, 2017
Pe’ahi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii
Todos Santos Challenge: Todos Santos, Mexico
Nazaré Challenge: Nazaré, Portugal

ENDS

NB : High resolution images are available for media outlets

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the 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.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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

#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

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

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