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Posts Tagged ‘WSL BWT’

Record Setting Eight South Africans in Top 100 on 2018 Yearend WSL Rankings

December 12th, 2018 No comments

Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) carves off the top of meaty Sunset Beach wave on his way to ninth place in the Vans World Cup of Surfing in Hawaii Photo: WSL / Keoki

– Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) Highest Ranked Saffa at No. 30
– McGillivray, David van Zyl, Adin Masencamp and Dylan Lightfoot Crack Top 100 for First Time

A record-setting eight South African surfers have ended the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) ranked in the Top 100, improving on the five in 2017, three in 2016 and just two in 2015.

The annual rankings are based on each surfer’s best five results after 64 events rated from QS1,000 to QS10,000 on all five continents and featured a total of 1384 surfers. The top 10 in the rankings automatically qualify for the following year’s elite Championship Tour (CT). Qualification for the limited fields in the biggest QS events for the first half of 2019 also will be based on the 2018 rankings.

Matt McGillivray is the country’s highest ranked QS campaigner, ending the season at No. 30. Thanks to his victory in the first event of the year, a QSS3,000 in Israel, the Jeffreys Bay surfer was well seeded in events through the first half of the year. He finished 17th in the QS6,000 Burton Automotive Pro in Australia and won the QS1,500 Vans Surf Pro Classic at Lamberts Bay.

McGillivray went on to take 17th place in QS10,000 EDP Pro Ericeira in Portugal and finished the season strongly with 9th place, and a season’s best haul of 3,800 points, in the QS10,000 Vans World Cup held in giant waves at Sunset Beach in Hawaii last week.

Jordy Smith (Durban) has been a fixture among the world’s Top 32 on the CT for the past 11 seasons and only competed in three QS events this year, finishing No 38 overall after grabbing fifth and 13th place results in the two QS10,000’s in Hawaii along with a low 73rd place for his token appearance at the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong in June.

Currently CT No. 6 on the CT, Smith is out of contention for the world title heading into the season ending Billabong Pipe Masters, but still has a mathematical chance of becoming the first South African male to clinch the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) title if he can better his career best fifth place result at Pipeline.

Smith was awarded the VTCS Rookie of the Year title in 2007, while back in 2001Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) won the VTCS women’s crown and she remains the only Saffa to claim the accolade which is second only to the World Champion title in status.

Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) retained his position in the Top100 for the sixth consecutive year, finishing 49th this year after being the country’s top QS surfers from 2013 to 2016. The KwaDukuza based 25 year-old’s strong performances in Hawaii, where he famously scored a perfect 10-point ride for what has been described as the ‘best tube ride in a contest at Sunset Beach’, saw him maintain his seeding for the major events next year.

Indeed, the Hawaiian performances of all the Saffas was really encouraging as the QS season wraps up with back-to-back QS10,000’s where career-changing qualification hopes and preferential seeding can be realised or dashed on a single heat result.

McGillivray’s familiarity with the powerful island waves has developed exponentially thanks to the amount of time he spends with his Hawaiian girlfriend Zoe McDougall on the North Shore of Oahu and this will stand him in good stead for future campaigns. Hawaiian based Capetonian Benji Brand is a standout there and has already won several events and also earned a coveted wildcard into last season’s Billabong Pipe Masters.

Michael February (Cape Town) will complete his rookie CT season at Pipeline over the next week and the difficulty of competing on both tours showed in his QS results as he dropped from 15th to 50th this year, while David van Zyl (Glenashley) has become a force to be reckoned with at both the Hawaiian venues of Haleiwa and Sunset Beach.

QS rookie Adin Masencamp (Strand), who clinched the WSL Africa junior title in 2017 and franked his contest credentials by claiming the region’s open men’s title this year, showed great promise in his maiden visit to Hawaii and has ensured he will qualify for big events next year with 87th place ranking.

Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) secured his Top 100 status with his 49th place result in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa while Slade Prestwich (Durban) showed the benefits of his busy international travelling schedule and earned his best points haul when he reached the final of QS3,000 HIC Pro at Sunset, finishing fourth behind third placed Beyrick de Vries.

The significant improvement in the ranking of South African surfers can be attributed to the expanded series of regional events organised by WSL Africa Operations Manager Colin Fitch whose tireless efforts to provide local surfers with the opportunities to make surfing their career have really paid off in the last two years.

After more than five years as WSL Africa’s marketing agents, Accelerate Sport have created an exciting package for local businesses which has seen six events added to the regional calendar, encompassing juniors (18-and-under), open and longboard events for both men and women.

The WSL Africa membership base has also increased dramatically to more than 150 and the prize-money on offer has kept pace with over R6 million up for grabs this year. Much of that comes from the QS10,000 rated Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong which crowned it’s 50th champion this year and has the distinction of being the world’s longest running professional surfing event.

With the likes of Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) clinching the 2018 WSL World Longboard Surfing title, Grant ‘Twig’ Baker (Durban) heading the WSL Big Wave Tour rankings with just one event to go, Jordy Smith a perennial threat for the WSL Men’s World Title and rapidly improving results being achieved by the QS warriors, professional surfing in the region heads into 2019 in robust good health.

See www.worldsurfleague.com for more information

2018 WSL Qualifying Series (QS) – Yearend Rankings
1 Kanoa Igarashi JPN 26800
2 Griffin Colapinto USA 24300
3 Seth Moniz HAW 22300
4 Ryan Callinan AUS 21660
5 Peterson Crisanto BRA 20750

South Africans (Top 150)
30 Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 11550
38 Jordy Smith (Durban) 9450
49 Beyrick De Vries (uMhlanga) 8080
50 Michael February (Cape Town) 8050
60 David Van Zyl (Glenashley) 6900
87 Adin Masencamp (Strand) 5350
93 Benji Brand (Kommetjie/Hawaii) 4910
98 Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 4695
115 Slade Prestwich (Durban) 3860
129 Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) 3435

ENDS

About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) 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 organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a 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, annually running more than 180 global events across the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.

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
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

 

Grant “Twig” Baker Wins Nazare Challenge in Giant Waves in Portugal!

November 16th, 2018 No comments

Grant ‘Twig’ Baker (Durban, centre) holds aloft the trophy for winning the Nazare Challenge in giant waves in Portugal today  Credit: WSL / Poullenot

8 to 13 Metre (25 to 40 foot) Waves Test the World’s Best Big Wave Surfers

South African Grant ‘Twig’ Baker today won the Nazare Challenge, the first event on the 2018 / 19 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT), in huge 8 to 13 metre (25 to 40 foot) waves at Praia do Norte (North Beach), Nazare in Portugal.

Baker, the 2013 and 2016 WSL BWT world champion and at 45 the oldest competitor in the event, claimed the fifth BWT event title of his storied career and he now holds the early lead in this year’s BWT rankings.

“I’m really happy to win here at Nazare,” said Baker on exiting the water. “I have spent the last six weeks here with my family, Kate and Billi, surfing every day in one foot to 20 foot (0.5 to 6 metre) waves and it has certainly helped me know more about the break.

“I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors. We all love riding big waves and the vibe out there was incredible. Everyone was sharing waves, everybody knew whose turn it was, it was epic.”

The Durbanite squeaked through his Round 1 and Semi-final heats, placing third in each and in danger of being eliminated from the event if he had been overtaken as the time ran out in the 45 minute encounters.

Baker caught the first ride in the 60 minute final, earning a score of 5.33 out of 10, and he followed that up almost immediately with a 4.93. With two scores in his pocket he had the luxury of being able to position himself to wait for the biggest waves to arrive while the other five finalists needed to chase around the break trying to record their counting scores.

Despite replacing his 4.93 with 6.07, Baker was overtaken by hard-charging Portuguese local Naxto Gonzalez, who had posted the only perfect 10-point score of the event for a ride deep inside an enormous 10 metre tube in the semis, and defending event champion and eventual 2018 event runner-up Lucas ‘Chombo’ Chianca (BRA).

With 10 minutes remaining the horizon went black as a set of massive waves came thundering through ultra-deep underwater canyon that refracts the world’s biggest rideable waves into the surf zone at Nazare. Baker held his nerve and as the biggest wave of the day was about to break on his head he swung around, paddled in and dropped down the face.

Grant Baker drops into a big wave on his way to winning the Nazare Challenge in Portugal Photo: WSL / Poullenot

Holding his line as the wall of water estimated at 13 metres (40 foot) in height by the commentators towered over him, Baker guided himself around the tons of crushing white-water and onto the shoulder, raising his arms in exultation as he cut-out over the back of the wave.

The judges awarded Baker 8.67, the highest scoring ride of the final, and when he added a 7.70 in the dying minutes, the title was his.

“That wave was coming right to me and Lucas was on the shoulder so I had do some manoeuvring, but I had to go,” said Baker on the podium. “Out at Nazare you’re not too sure where it’s going to break so I had to wait, and wait, and wait. So when I eventually turned and went, it was pretty late and it was really steep, but I made it to the shoulder, and now I’m the champion!”

The Nazare Challenge was given a Silver coefficient by BWT Commissioner Mike Parsons based on the waves being in the 35 foot (12 metre) range which means that Baker earns 11,000 points on the rankings, 10% more than the10,000 points awarded to the winner of a Bronze coefficient event.

Nazare Challenge
Final Results
1. Grant ‘Twig’ Baker (ZAF, Durban)
2. Lucas ‘Chombo’ Chianca (BRA)
3. Natxo Gonzalez (Basque)
4. Alex Botelho (PRT)
5. Joao de Macedo (PRT)
6. Russell Bierke (AUS)

The 2018/2019 Big Wave Tour (BWT) hosts three events: the Nazaré Challenge, the Jaws Challenge, and the Mavericks Challenge. All holding periods for this season are now open and will await the biggest waves until the season’s close on March 31, 2019. For the Jaws Challenge and Mavericks Challenge, the world’s best male and female big wave surfers will prepare for conditions that will produce waves in the 30-to-60-foot range. Once the decision is made to run the event, a “Green Alert” is issued and competitors will have 48 hours’ notice to be ready to compete.

The WSL Big Wave Tour is proudly supported by Surfline, and Corona, with special thanks to Nazaré Challenge partners Jogos Santa Casa, Visit Portugal, Portuguese Waves, The City of Nazaré, MEO, Hertz, and Praia do Norte.

ENDS

About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) 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 organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a 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, annually running more than 180 global events across the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.

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

Grant “Twiggy” Baker Ready for Giant Surf as Nazare Challenge Called ON for Friday

November 15th, 2018 No comments

Nazare, Portugal, home to the biggest waves ever surfed, will see the world’s best big wave surfers compete on Friday 16 November in the first event on the 2018/19 WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT) Credit: WSL / Masurel

6 to 10 Metre (20 to 35 foot) Waves Predicted for Portugal on Friday

Former two-time world big wave champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is ready to take on the giant surf at Praia do Norte (North Beach) in Portugal on Friday after the Nazare Challenge was given the Green Light to run at the home of the biggest wave ever surfed.

The first of three events on the 2018 / 19 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) schedule takes place at Nazare, a Portuguese town that has embraced big wave surfing, and Baker has spent considerable time there acclimatising himself and fine-tuning his equipment after finishing fifth in last season’s edition of the event.

“I’ve been in Europe for 6 weeks with the family getting ready for the event, surfing Nazare in all different conditions, so I’ve put in the time to give myself the best possible chance to do well,” said Baker after hearing the event had been called ON for Friday. “I have some great boards over here and I’ve been working on my positioning in the lineup and have a better idea of what a good wave looks like out there.

“Hopefully I can use that to catch the best waves in the middle of the peak and surf them to the best of my ability. Defending event winner Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca (BRA), reigning Big Wave Tour champion Billy Kemper (HAW), renowned waterman Kai Lenny (HAW) and Nathan Florence (USA) have been the standouts lately and I’m looking forward to competing against the hungry youngsters,” commented Baker, who at 45 is the oldest competitor in the field.

Surfline, forecast partner of the WSL, is predicting:

A developing storm near Greenland is expected to produce a strong WNW swell for Friday. Confidence is medium to high for a swell to provide good surf throughout the day. We expect to see wave face size in the 20-30’ range (through the day on Friday), with the very largest sets of the morning up to 35’.

While this isn’t a giant swell, especially by Nazare standards, local wind and conditions look about as good as it gets on Friday: light+ offshore ESE wind through the morning, trending more SE (still offshore) for the early afternoon hours, generally below 10 knots. Furthermore, the two previous days (Wednesday-Thursday) are also expected to see light offshore wind and small swell, which should mean conditions are extra clean on Friday.

According to Baker the swell is likely to get even bigger over the weekend and he feels that the world record wave height of 80 feet (23.77 meters), set by Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) when he was towed into a wave by a jetski at Nazare recently, may even be broken. The BWT events only allow waves to be caught paddling in with arm-strength although there will be numerous jetskis in the surf zone to conduct rescue and safety duties.

“There is a huge swell coming this weekend that will probably see the World tow record broken,” said Baker, the 2013 and 2017 BWT champion. “We have to work around this swell and the event has been called for the beginning of it all. Hopefully we get some giant waves with epic conditions and Nazare at its best for paddle surfing.

“There is so much support for surfing here with everyone in the town showing us a welcoming spirit. The government has opened a surf training centre with a gym, pool and other facilities. It’s an amazing place to visit and surf.”

The WSL Nazaré Challenge will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL’s Facebook page starting at approximately 9.30 am South African time.

2018/2019 Nazaré Challenge Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Billy Kemper (HAW), Lucas Chianca (BRA), Greg Long (USA), Nathan Florence (HAW), Francisco Porcella (ITA), Antonia Silva (PRT)
Heat 2: Ian Walsh (HAW), Tom Lowe (GBR), Will Skudin (USA), Russell Bierke (AUS), João De Macedo (PRT), Rodrigo Koxa (BRA)
Heat 3: Kai Lenny (HAW), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Jojo Roper (USA), Pedro Calado (BRA), Andrew Cotton (GBR)
Heat 4: Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Alex Botelho (PRT), Grant Baker (ZAF), Nic Lamb (USA), Nic von Rupp (PRT), João Guedes (PRT)

The 2018/2019 Big Wave Tour hosts three events: the Nazaré Challenge, the Jaws Challenge, and the Mavericks Challenge. All holding periods for this season are now open and will await the biggest waves until the season’s close on March 31, 2019. For the Jaws Challenge and Mavericks Challenge, the world’s best male and female big wave surfers will prepare for conditions that will produce waves in the 30-to-60-foot range. Once the decision is made to run the event, a “Green Alert” is issued and competitors will have 48 hours’ notice to be ready to compete.

The WSL Big Wave Tour is proudly supported by Surfline, and Corona, with special thanks to Nazaré Challenge partners Jogos Santa Casa, Visit Portugal, Portuguese Waves, The City of Nazaré, MEO, Hertz, and Praia do Norte.

ENDS

About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) 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 organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a 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, annually running more than 180 global events across the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.

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

 

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Finishes Fifth as Lucas Chianca Wins Nazare Challenge in Portugal

February 11th, 2018 No comments

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker on his way to fifth place in the Nazare Challenge in Portugal on Sunday  Credit: © WSL / Justes

Billy Kemper Takes Big Wave Tour Rankings Lead with 17 Days Left in 2017 / 2018 Season

Reigning World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker battled through three rounds of daunting six to nine metre (20-30 foot) waves to finish fifth in the Nazare Challenge at Praia de Norte in Portugal on Sunday.

The third stop on the 2017 / 2018 BWT was won by rising big wave star Lucas Chianca, 22, from Brazil who won all three heats he contested with an amazing repertoire of manoeuvres more commonly seen performed on waves a quarter the size of those on offer at this event.

The second-ever BWT event at Nazaré ran over two days after dangerous conditions threatened the competitors following the opening heats on Saturday. Big Wave Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons, alongside the judging panel, rated conditions a Bronze coefficient, awarding the winner 10,000 points.

Competing in just his second BWT event, Chianca earned his first finals appearance and event win today after dominating the competitive 24-man field, made up of the world’s best male big wave surfers. The young Brazilian demonstrated command over Nazaré’s powerful waves and challenging white-water speeds to climb up to No. 5 on the Big Wave Tour rankings.

“I am stoked to win this event,” Chianca said. “Thank you to everyone for all of their support. All these guys competing are so crazy and inspiring. It was hard because when you get the call for BWT events, it is at the last minute. We flew here as soon as we got the call, were a bit tired, and then just went straight into the competition the next day. The waves yesterday were so gnarly and scary. And then today, we were on again. I am super stoked. Thank you.”

Baker, 43, a two-time BWT Champion (2013 and 2017) was the oldest competitor in the six-man final which represented a ‘changing of the guard’ in big wave competition by also featured 2017/2018 Puerto Escondido Challenge winner Kai Lenny (HAW), two-time Pe’ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW), and up-and-comers Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Nathan Florence (HAW), and Chianca, all of whom are in the their early twenties.

Lenny kicked off the hour-long final with a low-range score of 3.83 (out of a possible 10). The next wave of the set saw a split peak with Baker picking up 3.50 on the right while le Chianca gained control of the heat with an authoritative 7.33 on the left.

Gonzalez challenged Chianca with two mid-range scores, but the Brazilian consolidated his lead with a 6.73. Kemper stayed patient and was able to collect a 4.83 and 4.67 at the end of the heat to take second place ahead of Gonzalez, Lenny, Baker, and Florence.

Kemper’s runner-up finish moved him to No. 1 on the 2017 / 2018 BWT rankings, topping Lenny by 2,311 points. His recent success, both on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) and Big Wave Tour, is a testament to his training and commitment to surfing. Not only does Kemper lead the BWT ranks, he recently won the Sunset Open Qualifying Series to put him in second place on the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS rankings.

“I am over the moon right now,” said Kemper. “First and foremost, I want to thank the country of Portugal. All of the people here are absolutely amazing and this place is beautiful. The warm welcome that you give all of us surfers is next to none. I am very thankful. I came here with that goal to make the final and do as best as I could.”

Today’s win marked a first for Chianca, but also a last for his mentor Carlos Burlé (BRA) who pioneered big-wave surfing and rose to become the 2010 BWT Champion. Burlé retired last year but competed at this event as an end-of-career victory lap. The fifty-year-old big wave surfer was eliminated yesterday in Round One Heat 2.

The Mavericks Challenge still has the potential to run before the Big Wave Tour season closes on February 28, 2018. BWT officials will continue to monitor swell systems and weather patterns and will only call the event on when surf reaches the 30-foot-plus mark, mobilizing on 72 hours’ notice.

Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 19.89
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.93
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.83
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 13.23
5 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 11.04
6 – Nathan Florence (HAW) 10.89

Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 14.91, Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.17, Nathan Florence (HAW) 13.13, Alex Botelho (PRT) 12.31, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.93, Peter Mel (USA) 11.63
SF 2: Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.70, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.69, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.99, Nic von Rupp (PRT) 11.43, Ian Walsh (HAW) 11.04, Tom Lowe (GBR) 10.51

Nazaré Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 17.63, Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.33, Nathan Florence (HAW) 14.31, João de Macedo (PRT) 11.56, Hugo Vau (PRT) 9.43, Pedro Calado (BRA) 7.13
Heat 2: Peter Mel (USA) 15.43, Alex Botelho (PRT) 14.23, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 9.66, Tom Butler (GBR) 3.14, Carlos Burlé (BRA) 0.00, Aaron Gold (HAW) 0.00
Heat 3: Nic von Rupp (PRT) 20.23, Kai Lenny (HAW) 20.23, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.57, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 14.11, Cristian Merello (CHL) 12.77, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 11.39
Heat 4: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.10, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.84, Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.90, Nic Lamb (USA) 11.43, Antonio Silva (PRT) 6.06, Kealii Mamala (HAW) 5.00

WSL Men’s BWT Rankings Top 5 (following Nazaré Challenge):
1 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 27,140 pts
2 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 24, 829 pts
3 – Ian Walsh (HAW) 17,757 pts
4 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 14,123 pts
5 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 13,331 pts
13. Grant Baker (ZAF) 5,694 pts

The 2017/2018 Nazaré Challenge is presented Jogos Santa Casa, and proudly supported by Tourism of Portugal, West Tourism, and Nazaré City Council. The 2017/2018 WSL Big Wave Tour is proudly supported by Corona, the Official Beer of the Big Wave Tour (excluding North America), and Quiksilver Airlift, the Official Inflatable Vest of the 2017/2018 Big Wave Tour.

ENDS

About WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) 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 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, annually running in excess of 180 global events across the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

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 Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

 

Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Paige Alms Claim 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour Titles

March 1st, 2017 No comments
Grant "Twiggy" Baker (Durban, ZAF) celebrates on the podium after winning the Puerto Escondido Challenge before going on to claim the 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour title  Photo: WSL / Heff

Grant “Twiggy” Baker (Durban, ZAF) celebrates on the podium after winning the Puerto Escondido Challenge before going on to claim the 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour title  Photo: WSL / Heff

– Baker Captures Second WSL BWT Title
– Alms Earns Historic Women’s Big Wave Crown
– More Available At Worldsurfleague.Com

LOS ANGELES, CA/USA (Tuesday, February 28, 2017) – With the conclusion of the 2016/2017 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) today, Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF) and Paige Alms (HAW) have claimed the WSL BWT men’s and women’s titles.

Today’s achievement marks Baker’s second BWT title, after securing his first in 2013. Baker competed in all three events that ran on this year’s men’s BWT, kicking off his year-long lead with an emphatic victory at the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico.

The Durbanite then continued to carry the momentum to a strong showing at the Pe’ahi Challenge in Hawaii, where he captured the 3rd place trophy before solidifying his position atop the rankings after a Semifinal finish at the inaugural Nazaré Challenge in Portugal.

“To be the Big Wave Tour Champion means the world to me,” Baker said. “I put in a lot of time and effort into this year and it is amazing that it has paid off. I got married two years ago and had a daughter last year, so my priorities to surf big waves have definitely changed to give them the best possible future. They drive me to catch bigger waves. This year, everything came together in the contests. I did what I had to do competitively and it feels good. I am super stoked.”

Grant "Twiggy" Baker (Durban, ZAF) charged at Jaws in Hawaii on his way to 3rd place in the Pe'ahi Challenge Photo: WSL / Cestari

Grant “Twiggy” Baker (Durban, ZAF) charged at Jaws in Hawaii on his way to 3rd place in the Pe’ahi Challenge Photo: WSL / Cestari

Baker started his incredible career in 2003 with a Finals appearance at his first ever big wave event at Dungeons in South Africa. Since then, the South African has continued to push the limits of big wave surfing with numerous event wins at venues ranging from Maverick’s in California to Punta de Lobos in Chile and Punta Galea in the Basque Country of Spain. Additionally, Baker’s remarkable career is brimming with accolades from the Big Wave Awards, and today’s victory further cements his place in surfing history.

“The progression of big wave surfing in the past few years has been exponential,” continued Baker. “The competition side is pushing the performance level of the sport. What this title means for me is that we are getting something going for the future. We are building something for the kids that are coming up now. The Championship means a lot and it is a great feeling to have that pressure off and to win.”

Baker completed his season with 25,018 points on the year-end rankings, edging out the 20-year old Brazilian charger, Pedro Calado (BRA), by 3,075 points. Defending two-time BWT Champion Greg Long (USA) came in third place with a total of 22,921 points.

++++++++

On November 11, 2016, the first ever women’s WSL Big Wave Tour competition was held at the Pe’ahi Challenge. The historic event witnessed incredible performances as 12 individuals took to the water to compete for both the event win and the maiden Women’s Big Wave Champion Title.

Alms made history on the world stage when she won the Pe’ahi Challenge to become the first ever Big Wave Women’s Champion.

Paige Alms (HAW) took on massive waves at the 2016 Pe'ahi Challenge to make history as the first ever Big Wave Women's Champion  Photo: WSL / Heff

Paige Alms (HAW) took on massive waves at the 2016 Pe’ahi Challenge to make history as the first ever Big Wave Women’s Champion  Photo: WSL / Heff

“Being the first Big Wave Women’s Champion at Pe’ahi is an amazing feeling,” said Alms. “I am stoked to be able to put that notch on my belt. I am happy to be an ambassador for the sport and for women in surfing. That was a win for women’s surfing and a win for the Maui community. It wasn’t just a win for me.”

Alms, who lives on Maui, started charging big waves at the age of 15. Like most female big wave surfers, Alms’ career has been self-supported through juggling multiple jobs to fund her travel and training. Her commitment, hard work and passion is not only evidenced through her accolades, but predominantly through her undoubted elevation of big wave surfing.

“Every session we have for big wave surfing for men or women [means] the sport is being progressed,” continued Alms. “For female big wave surfing, the more opportunities that we have like that in an empty line up, the more you’re going to see the best big wave women doing the best big wave surfing. I am really looking forward to seeing what the WSL has in store for next year. This is just the beginning and this was one contest. I think we are going to look back in ten years and say, ‘remember that time?’ I think the possibilities are endless.”

For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com

2016/17 Men’s WSL Big Wave Tour Top 5:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 25,018 points
2 – Pedro Calado (BRA) 21,943
3 – Greg Long (USA) 21,921 points
4 – Carlos Burle (BRA) 18,175
5 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 15,690

2016/17 Women’s WSL Big Wave Tour Top 5:
1 – Paige Alms (HAW) 12,500 points
2 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 10,416 points
3 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 8,680 points
4 – Emily Erickson (HAW) 6,029 points
4 – Keala Kennelly (HAW) 6,029 points
4 – Laura Enever (AUS) 6,029 points

ENDS

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: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Ends 7th in Nazaré Challenge :: Increases Big Wave Tour Rankings Lead

December 21st, 2016 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban drops into a giant wave on his way to seventh place in the first WSL BWT Nazaré Challenge in Portugal on Tuesday Image: WSL / Masurel

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban drops into a giant wave on his way to seventh place in the first WSL BWT Nazaré Challenge in Portugal on Tuesday Image: WSL / Masurel

– Jamie Mitchell (AUS) Claims First BWT Event Victory in 10-15 Metre Waves
– Baker Recovers from Horrendous Wipe-Out to Catch Two More Waves in Semis
– More at WorldSurfLeague.com

South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker has increased his lead on the BWT rankings after finishing seventh in the Nazare Challenge, Stop No. 3 on the 2016/2017 WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT) schedule which was run in enormous 10-15 metre waves and icy cross-offshore winds at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal yesterday (Tuesday 20 Dec)

Organisers were delighted when all the conditions aligned for the first paddle-in contest at the notorious big wave break where a deep underwater canyon funnels and amplifies the gigantic swells as they approach the beach, producing surf which is more commonly ridden using jetskis to tow the surfers onto the waves.

Baker started his campaign in the Heat 2 of Round 1 and confidently caught and rode a heat-high five waves to finish in second place behind Nic Lamb (USA) as the pair advanced to the semi-finals along with third placed Pedro Calado (BRA).

In his semi, the South African fell on his first ride and then suffered an horrendous wipe-out when he was bounced off his board at the top of a huge wave and, unable to penetrate the water, skipped 13 metres down the face of the wave on his back before the lip landed on him. Recovering from the impact, Baker then spent more than 20 minutes clinging with all his strength onto a rescue sled behind a jetski as the pilot tried to get out to the lineup through countless massive waves.

In a credit to his courage, fitness and tenacity, Baker was back in position with just five minutes remaining. In a late flurry, he caught and rode two more waves to move into fourth place in the heat. Although he did not advance to the final, the extra rides ensured he finished seventh instead of 11th overall in the event, earning an extra 2000 rankings points.

With just one more event on the 2015/16 BWT schedule, at Todos Santos in Mexico, Baker is now 3,000 points ahead of his nearest rivals, Calado and reigning BWT champion Greg Long (USA), and the Durbanite is in line to add the a second BWT title to the one he clinched in the 2012/13 season.

“Yesterday was pretty unique in my surfing life. Riding a giant double-up shore break where you have to catch 2 waves in 45 minutes for a WSL BWT event was insane,” Baker said on his Facebook page. “Nazare as a wave is a phenom, as challenging and beautiful as any big wave I’ve surfed and the respect I have for Garrett McNamara (the pioneer of Nazare) and the rest of the locals is unparalleled. But do the dangers involved outweigh the rewards?”

“Those 20-30 minutes during each heat on the back of a ski, holding on with all your strength while jumping 10ft (3 metre) foamies, were some of the most terrifying experiences of my life, and something I can’t see myself repeating. Deservingly Jamie Mitchell, the maddest dog, won and hoping all the guys with injuries recover soon.”

Jamie Mitchell (AUS) dominated the event from the outset, catching several of the biggest waves that came through and winning his Round 1 and Semi-final heats before coming from behind to overtake tour veteran Carlos Burle (BRA, 49) to clinch his first BWT event title. The12,500 points Mitchell earned rocketed the former lifeguard and world renowned prone and SUP paddle racer from 13th to fifth on the latest BWT rankings.

“I instantly fell in love with this place and the people the first time I came.” said an elated Mitchell. “Today was next level, it was survival, it was heavy. I want to dedicate this to my wife and little daughter, and to my Mum and Dad, I think today is a family theme. All the big wave family behind me, around the world, it was just an incredible day.”

The final opened with an exciting first exchange between Burle and newcomer Calado (BRA), Burle taking the nod and an early lead with a clean lefthander on his backhand that earned a 6.50. Lamb followed in dramatic fashion with two of the most horrific wipe-outs seen all season and local wildcard Joao De Macedo (PRT) struggled as well, air-dropping unsuccessfully into a monstrous set wave before falling at the bottom and being engulfed in a waterfall of churning white water.

Halfway through the final, Mitchell committed to an incredibly late drop on a lefthander, grabbing the rail of his board to engage into a bottom turn before being eaten by a mountain of foam. Mitchell surfaced with his equipment and was rewarded with an excellent 8.67 for his effort, stealing the lead from Burle. The Australian quickly put a second score on the board to cement a lead that he held throughout the remainder of the heat.

De Macedo was the giant killer of this event, eliminating reigning Big Wave Tour Champion Greg Long (USA) in the first round, as well as current BWT leader Baker and Aaron Gold (HAW) in the semis. De Macedo’s amazing run culminated with a third place in the final.

A capacity crowd of big-wave enthusiasts gathered around the landmark lighthouse on the cliffs overlooking the break to watch the event unfold in the biggest waves ever paddled into in Portugal.

Highlights available at WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL App.

Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1- Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 23.94 (points out of 30)
2- Carlos Burle (BRA) 13.00
3- Joao De Macedo (PRT) 10.84
4- Pedro Calado (BRA) 9.34
5- Nic Lamb (USA) 3.00
6- Antonio Silva (PRT) 0.20

Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Pedro Calado (BRA) 21.27, Nic Lamb (USA) 17.34, Joao De Macedo (PRT) 14.83, Grant Baker (ZAF) 10.30, Aaron Gold (HAW) 9.67, Damien Hobgood (USA) 0.20
SF 2: Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 22.16, Carlos Burle (BRA) 15.33, Antonio Silva (PRT) 10.44, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 6.20, Christian Merello (CHL) 0.20, Hugo Vau (PRT) 0.20

Nazaré Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Joao De Macedo (PRT) 22.13, Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.00, Aaron Gold (HAW) 11.66, Greg Long (USA) 11.29, Kealii Mamala (HAW) 11.26, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 10.67
Heat 2: Nic Lamb (USA) 14.27, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.67, Pedro Calado (BRA) 10.49, Alex Botelho (PRT) 9.00, Andrew Cotton (GBR) 6.40, Koa Rothman (HAW) 0.00
Heat 3: Cristian Merello (CHL) 20.83, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 14.36, Antonio Silva (PRT) 12.14, Kai Lenny (HAW) 11.67, Billy Kemper (HAW) 11.39, Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 8.37
Heat 4: Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 25.24, Hugo Vau (PRT) 24.93, Carlos Burle (BRA) 19.81, Will Skudin (USA) 11.73, Ramon Navarro (CHL), 11.66, Tom Butler (GBR) 3.54

WSL BWT Rankings Top Five (following Nazare Challenge):
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) – 25,018 points
2 – Pedro Calado (BRA) – 21,943 points
3 – Greg Long (USA) – 21,921 points
4 – Carlos Burle (BRA) – 18,175 points
5 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) – 15,690 points

About The Big Wave Tour (BWT):
The 2016/17 BWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components hosting three possible events within each. The Southern Hemisphere window ran from April 27 to August 31, 2016 with event options in Mexico, Chile and Peru. The Puerto Escondido Challenge was the only event to run and saw Baker take the win. The Northern Hemisphere window runs from October 15, 2016 to February 28, 2017 with event options in Portugal, Hawaii and Mexico. The Pe’ahi Challenge was the first event to run on Friday, November 11, and saw Billy Kemper (HAW) and Paige Alms (HAW) claim victory.

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images and broadcast quality video footage are available on request 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: 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

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Ready for Nazaré Big Wave Challenge Starting Tuesday in Portugal

December 19th, 2016 No comments
WSL XXL contender Garrett McNamara in action at Nazare in 2015  Image: Bruno Aleixo

WSL XXL contender Garrett McNamara in action at Nazare in 2015 Image: Bruno Aleixo

– South African Mentally & Physically Prepared to Defend BWT Rankings Lead
– More at WorldSurfLeague.com

South African big wave charger Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is mentally and physically prepared for the Nazaré Challenge, Stop No. 3 on the 2016/2017 WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT) schedule which has been given the Green Light to start in Portugal on Tuesday 20 December.

Baker has been practising in the Northern Hemisphere since October and is full of confidence after placing third in the recent Pe’ahi Challenge in Hawaii and retaining his BWT rankings lead.

“I’m feeling fit and healthy as I’ve been in California and Hawaii for two months now surfing most of the big swells and this has helped me be prepared mentally and physically for the event,” Baker explained.

“I’ve been here (Nazaré) for a few days warming up and the wave is very similar to beach breaks I’ve surfed on the West coast of Africa and Ocean Beach in San Francisco, so I feel comfortable. Saying that, it looks like the event will run in larger conditions so I’m not to sure what to expect, but I’m confident in my boards which are specifically designed for Nazare by Pukas Surf here in Europe.

“Huge thanks to my wife Kate and daughter Billi for their support, to my family and friends for giving me the confidence to move forward with my dreams and a special shout out to my friend and business partner Reg McDonald, as I couldn’t be doing this without his great work.”

With a series of major swells heading towards the region, all eyes will be on the world’s best big wave surfers as they take on the waves of Praia do Norte (North Beach), a break notorious for its powerful waves and dangerous white water speeds.

“We are excited to call the inaugural Nazaré Challenge on,” said Peter Mel, WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner. “We have been closely tracking the WNW North Atlantic swell and see that everything should align for a Tuesday start. The waves are projected to be 11-15 metre (35-45-foot-plus) with favourable winds. We are all eager to see how the world’s best big wave surfers push the boundaries with the debut of this event.”

The highly-anticipated Nazaré Challenge is an all-new event on the WSL Big Wave Tour and will be the first paddle-in event to take place at the venue that put Portugal on the map as a big wave haven. The event will be contested by 24 of the best big wave surfers, led by BWT ratings leader Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF), 2015/16 BWT Champion Greg Long (USA), as well as regional event wildcards Alex Botelho (PRT) and Andrew Cotton (GBR).

Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are calling for:

Significant storm activity in the North Atlantic in the next few days will deliver a series of XL to possibly XXL swells for Nazaré for most of the week. The first of these swells, which will arrive on Tuesday, is currently expected to produce waves of 10-13 metre (30-40’) on the face, with the largest sets potentially hitting 15 metres (50’) if the storm behaves as forecast in the next couple days. A similar size swell looks possible for Thursday before fading Friday. Local wind will be variable for much of next week, although does look favourable Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and potentially all of Thursday and Friday.

While the competition is scheduled to start early in the morning Portugal time on Tuesday, December 20, organizers are also keeping the option open of competition days on Wednesday, December 21 and Thursday, December 22, should the local weather conditions call for it.

The total prize purse for the Nazaré Challenge is $100,000 (approx. R1.35 million).

For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com.

Nazaré Challenge Competitors:
Greg Long (USA)
Billy Kemper (HAW)
Nic Lamb (USA)
Carlos Burle (BRA)
Damien Hobgood (USA)
Cristian Merello (CHL)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Trevor Carlson (HAW)
Koa Rothman (HAW)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Aaron Gold (HAW)
Kai Lenny (HAW)
Pedro Calado (BRA)
Will Skudin (USA)
Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Alex Botelho (PRT)
Hugo Vau (PRT)
Joao de Macedo (PRT)
Antonio Silva (PRT)
Andrew Cotton (GBR)
Tom Butler (GBR)

About The Big Wave Tour (BWT):
The 2016/17 BWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components hosting three possible events within each. The Southern Hemisphere window ran from April 27 to August 31, 2016 with event options in Mexico, Chile and Peru. The Puerto Escondido Challenge was the only event to run and saw Baker take the win. The Northern Hemisphere window runs from October 15, 2016 to February 28, 2017 with event options in Portugal, Hawaii and Mexico. The Pe’ahi Challenge was the first event to run on Friday, November 11, and saw Billy Kemper (HAW) and Paige Alms (HAW) claim victory.

ENDS

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: 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

Grant Baker Places Third in Pe’ahi Challenge : Retains No. 1 Spot on Big Wave Tour Rankings

November 12th, 2016 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker in action during the final of the Pe’ahi Challenge at Jaws in Hawaii. The Durbanite finished third in the event and retained his No. 1 spot on the 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour rankings - Photo: WSL / Heff

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker in action during the final of the Pe’ahi Challenge at Jaws in Hawaii. The Durbanite finished third in the event and retained his No. 1 spot on the 2016/17 WSL Big Wave Tour rankings – Photo: WSL / Heff

– Maui Locals Dominate with Billy Kemper and Paige Alms Claiming Pe’ahi Challenge titles
– Alms Records Historic First Ever WSL Women’s BWT Champion
– Kemper Finds Perfection and Wins Back-to-Back Victories
– More at WorldSurfLeague.com

PE’AHI, Maui/Hawaii (Friday, November 11, 2016) – Legendary South African big wave charger Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker powered his way through three heats of 10 metre plus surf to finish third in the Pe’ahi Challenge in Hawaii and retain his No. 1 spot on the 2016/17 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) rankings

Baker, the 2013 BWT champion and winner of the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico in June, stayed busy in the inconsistent rising swell in his Round 1 heat where he finished second to advance to the semi-finals. There the Durbanite again caught the first ride of the 50 minute encounter, but had to wait until just four minutes from the end before finding a backup ride that saw him grab third place and a berth in the one hour final.

Maui local and defending Pe’ahi Challenge champion Billy Kemper (HAW) and Baker shared a wave to open up the final, with Baker getting the best of the exchange. Reigning and two-time BWT Champion Greg Long (USA) followed quickly on the second wave of the set and posted an excellent 8.83, which he backed up on one of the bigger waves of the day with another excellent ride for 8.93.

Kemper pulled into a barrel at the halfway mark to earn the only perfect 10 point ride of the event, taking the lead from Long and pushing Baker into third place, despite an excellent 8-point ride from the South African for a late drop. A final attempt from Nic Lamb (USA) moved him up into fourth place over Pedro Calado (BRA) and Will Skudin (USA) who finished in fifth and sixth places respectively.

Kemper held the lead through the remainder of the final and closed with a 9.07 for pulling into a deep pit which sealed his second consecutive win at Pe’ahi. The result sees Kemper move up nine places to No. 4 on the BWT rankings while Baker retains the ratings lead with only two possible events remaining on the 2016/17 season.

“I’ve trained so hard for the last eight weeks,” Kemper said. “I’m over the moon and I just surfed with a few of my heroes and pioneers of this sport – Greg (Long) and Twiggy (Baker). I didn’t know I was winning so I just went for it on that last wave. This is what I live for right here. I’ve put a lot of work and effort into this and thank you to everyone that’s ever supported me. Thanks again for putting on such a wonderful event.”

Pe’ahi local Paige Alms (HAW) has become the first ever WSL Women’s Big Wave Tour Champion after taking a commanding victory in the final of the Pe’ahi Challenge.

The world’s best female big wave surfers, including South Africa’s Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock), made history as 12 individuals took to the water to compete in a WSL Big Wave Tour event for the first time ever and contest for the maiden women’s title in heavy conditions at the break aptly known as Jaws.

The final saw Alms, Justine Dupont (FRA) and Felicity Palmateer (AUS) take to the water for a 60 minute match-up. Keala Kennelly (HAW), Emily Erickson (HAW) and Laura Enever (AUS) had also qualified for the final after placing in the top three in their respective Round 1 heats, but were unable to compete after sustaining injuries in the powerful surf.

Dupont led the charge, opening her account with a 3.17 but Alms found an incredible wave and took off with perfect positioning to be rewarded with 6.00 and then added another impressive ride for a 7.83, one of the day’s top scores. Dupont tried to fight back but ended runner-up with Palmateer taking third place.

“What a blessing to be out there with just a couple of girls, that was very special,” said Alms. “The support feels so good and it’s so cool to have all my friends here and do this at home. This has been a dream to have an event for the women here. To have an empty lineup is a real blessing, win or lose. A few of the girls got hurt and I’m bummed that they weren’t out there with us but they’ll be back for more. I hope we get more opportunities so thank you WSL, this was really big.”

Smith, who received a late call up as a wildcard for the event and was surfing on Maui for the first time, caught one wave as the wind affected waves made her Round 1 heat extremely challenging. But it wasn’t enough to advance to the final and she was eliminated from the competition.

“That was definitely extremely challenging with so much wind,” said Alms after winning her Round 1 heat. “I surf here all the time and the wind today is very difficult. It throws huge chops at you and puts so much air under the nose of your board, so you really have to push hard.”

Results, images and video footage of every ride in the Pe’ahi Challenge can be found at WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL app.

Pe’ahi Challenge Men’s Final Results:
1 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 29.07
2 – Greg Long (USA) 26.69
3 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 22.47
4 – Nic Lamb (USA) 18.89
5 – Pedro Calado (BRA) 18.04
6 – Will Skudin (USA) 14.41

Pe’ahi Challenge Women’s Final Results:
1 – Paige Alms (HAW) 21.66
2 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 10.77
3 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 1.63

Pe’ahi Challenge Men’s Semifinal Results (top three finishers advance to Final):
SF 1: Greg Long (USA) 16.66, Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.97, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.51, Cristian Merello (CHL) 13.26, Kai Lenny (HAW) 10.36, Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.97
SF 2: Nic Lamb (USA) 16.41, Pedro Calado (BRA) 12.67, Will Skudin (USA) 10.53, Aaron Gold (HAW) 10.14, Yuri Soledade (HAW) 6.73, Shaun Walsh (HAW) 1.74

Pe’ahi Challenge Women’s Round 1 Results (top three finishers advance to Final):
Heat 1: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 13.66, Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.59, Emily Erickson (HAW) 2.34, Polly Ralda (GTM) 2.00, Andrea Moller (BRA) 1.40, Silvia Nabuco (BRA) 0.00
Heat 2: Paige Alms (HAW) 12.34, Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 11.00, Laura Enever (AUS) 2.67, Bianca Valenti (USA) 2.29, Jamilah Star (USA) 1.46, Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF) 1.06

Pe’ahi Challenge Men’s Round 1 Results (top three finishers advance to Semifinals):
Heat 1: Greg Long (USA) 11.66, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.56, Cristian Merello (CHL) 11.33, Tyler Larronde (HAW) 9.33, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 6.00, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 1.00
Heat 2: Billy Kemper (HAW) 18.20, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.67, Kai Lenny (HAW) 11.60, Ian Walsh (HAW) 9.36, Carlos Burle (BRA) 8.03, Dege O’Connell (HAW) 7.07
Heat 3: Aaron Gold (HAW) 18.97, Yuri Soledade (HAW) 18.29, Will Skudin (USA) 15.77, Mark Healey (HAW) 12.56, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 11.53, Albee Layer (HAW) 9.14
Heat 4: Nic Lamb (USA) 16.96, Shaun Walsh (HAW) 16.83, Pedro Calado (BRA) 14.66, Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.57, Shane Dorian (HAW) 12.27, Francisco Porcella (HAW) 9.73

WSL BWT Rankings Top Five (following Pe’ahi Challenge):
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) – 21,180 points
2 – Greg Long (USA) – 20,832 points
3 – Pedro Calado (BRA) – 14,709 points
4 – Billy Kemper (HAW) – 13,589 points
5 – Will Skudin (USA) – 11,053 points

ENDS

NOTE: Complimentary high resolution images and broadcast quality video footage available on request 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: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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

 

Grant Baker and Tammy-Lee Smith in Pe’ahi Challenge Big Wave Event in Hawaii Today

November 11th, 2016 No comments
Pictured: Reigning BWT champion Greg Long in action at the inaugural Pe’ahi Challenge in December 2015where he finished third behind Maui locals Billy Kemper and Albee Layer - Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Pictured: Reigning BWT champion Greg Long in action at the inaugural Pe’ahi Challenge in December 2015where he finished third behind Maui locals Billy Kemper and Albee Layer – Photo: WSL / Kirstin

– Baker leads the WSL BWT rankings heading into Jaws
– Smith a debutant in the first WSL Women’s BWT event
– More at Worldsurfleague.Com

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, the current rankings leader on the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT), and Women’s BWT debutant Tammy-Lee Smith, both from KZN, will be flying the South African flag in the Pe’ahi Challenge in Hawaii, which has been given the green-light to run later today.

The call on when to get the first event in the Northern Hemisphere leg of the 2016 / 2017 BWT season underway will be made at 7pm South African time. Organisers are expected a powerful 5-7 metre (15-20 foot) swell with wave faces between 10 and 15 metres for the field of 24 men and 12 women the first ever Women’s BWT event.

Baker missed the inaugural Pe’ahi Challenge in December last year, which has been called the best big wave event in history, due to an injured back and is looking forward to competing at the revered break colloquially known as ‘Jaws’ which produces some of the biggest rideable waves on the planet.

“It’s going to be a great contest in the 15-20ft range with the swell out of the North and clean conditions which should make it a high performance big wave event with late drops, deep barrels and swooping turns,” said Baker on his arrival in Hawaii on Thursday after testing his equipment in the giant waves at Mavericks in California earlier in the week.

Although he won the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico in June, the only event on the Southern Hemisphere leg of the BWT season that has produced the wave size and conditions that matched the tour’s criteria so far this year, the proud South African is modest about his chances at Jaws

“I am the current ratings leader but the field for Jaws is strong and to win in Hawaii is difficult, so I’m just here to enjoy myself, get some waves and do my best for South Africa,” Baker explained.

The decision to include a women’s event at either the Pe’ahi or Todos Santos events this year resulted in Tammy-Lee Smith from Salt Rock being included on the alternate invitee list. However, the nature of how the calls are made for big wave events, where competitors are notified just 96 hours before the event start, led to a slew of withdrawals among the invitees and Smith has now been included in the field of 12 women as a wildcard.

Smith is an experienced five year veteran of the WSL Women’s Qualifying Series campaigner who has previously reached the final of the women’s event at Pipeline in Hawaii. Having always enjoyed surfing in waves of consequence, she already has the right equipment for Jaws and had been in training for a trip to Hawaii in December after testing her skills in the massive waves at Sunset Reef in Cape Town. The call-up for the Pe’ahi challenge has seen Smith drop everything and fly halfway around the world, arriving in Hawaii yesterday.

She is relishing the challenge of taking on Jaws and coming up against the world’s foremost female big wave riders, including the top seed Keala Kennelly (HAW), who became the first woman to win the open-gender the Pure Scot Barrel of the Year award at the WSL Big Wave Awards in April,

“My goal for Hawaii is just to get some solid waves,” said Smith. “The other girls have all been working at this a lot longer than me, so I feel grateful just to be a wildcard and work my way up. Being on the actual invitees list is my goal.”

All the action from the Pe’ahi Challenge will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.Com starting at 7pm South African time tonight.

Pe’ahi Challenge Men’s Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Greg Long (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Cristian Merello (CHL), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Tyler Larronde (HAW)
Heat 2: Billy Kemper (HAW), Carlos Burle (BRA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Kai Lenny (HAW), Ian Walsh (HAW), Dege O’Connell (HAW)
Heat 3: Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Aaron Gold (HAW), Will Skudin (USA), Yuri Soledade (HAW)
Heat 4: Nic Lamb (USA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Shane Dorian (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Shaun Walsh (HAW), Francisco Porcella (HAW)

Pe’ahi Challenge Women’s Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Keala Kennelly (HAW), Andrea Moller (BRA), Emily Erickson (HAW), Justine Dupont (FRA), Silvia Nabuco (BRA), Polly Ralda (GTM)
Heat 2: Paige Alms (HAW), Bianca Valenti (USA), Jamilah Star (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF)

ENDS

NOTE: Complimentary high resolution images and broadcast quality video footage available on request 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: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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

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