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Posts Tagged ‘WSL BWT’

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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Heat Draw:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

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

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

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

Issued on behalf of:

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

Compiled & Distributed by:

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

#labcomm

Josh Kerr Claims Todos Santos Challenge in Massive Surf

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

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

Elite Championship Tour Australian Bests Big Wave Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

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

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

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

Issued on behalf of:

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

Compiled & Distributed by:

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

#labcomm

WSL Green Alert: Todos Santos Challenge Called On For Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todos Santos Challenge Invite List:

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

Injury Wildcard
Alex Gray (USA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

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

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

Issued on behalf of:

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

Compiled & Distributed by:

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

#labcomm