|Big wave champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban North) beat out a field of high-flying surfers to win his second consecutive Oakley One Wave Wonder titleand nab the biggest single-wave prize purse in South African surfing.
Grant Twiggy Baker exits a massive Fijian tube that earned him R39 000 cash and a Yamaha VX1100 WaveRunner for Ride of the Season in the 2012 Oakley One Wave Wonder. © Fred Pompermeyer / Zigzag
Baker won the Ride of the Season (open from 1 January to 31 June) for his incredible 20 foot tube ride in Fiji during a session on 8 June that has been dubbed ‘The greatest day ever in big wave surfing’. The groundbreaking wave, caught at Cloudbreak reef off Tavarua island, earned him a total of R39 000 cash and a Yamaha VX1100 WaveRunner valued at R120 000.
It wasn’t an easy victory for the globally renowned 39-year-old big wave rider, who had put his life on the line tackling gigantic waves that were subsequently beaten by more progressive aerial surfing from younger pros throughout the event. His winning entry was submitted at the last minute after chasing a monumental swell to Fiji in the South Pacific.
” How lucky am I?” said an overwhelmed Baker when he was announced the winner last night at the Oakley One Wave Wonder awards function in Ballito. “It took 48 hours in total to get (to Fiji), and we got there at 10 o’clock at night before that swell. It took up my entire budget for the year and it was a big decision, but it obviously paid off and I got to experience something that will go down in the folklore of surfing history. I did that as a representative of South African surfing and that was my reward, that wave.”
“To win something like this and to be able to compete against guys that are half my age makes it such an amazing competition. This is an amazing event and I hope it grows from strength to strength.”
The event, run by Zigzag Surfing Magazine, breaks with the traditional surfing contest format and runs over a six-month long period during which any South African surfer can upload a video clip of their best ride onto the event website. The best ride every month is decided by a panel of expert judges, whose vote counts for 50%. The other 50% of the vote is decided by the public through an online vote. The monthly winner then becomes a finalist for the ultimate Ride of the Season.
“What makes the Oakley One Wave Wonder so unique is that Joe Soap can go up against Jordy Smith” said Will Bendix, editor of Zigzag Surfing Magazine. “A two foot wave can compete with a 25 foot wave, and you get massive barrels competing with crazy airs. It’s basically anything deemed an outstanding single ride that pushes the performance levels of surfing, no matter what the waves are like. Whoever impresses the judges and the public the most wins. There’s no other surfing contest like it.”
For more information and to view the entries, go to www.1wavewonder.co.za