23 June, 2018 23 June, 2018

Jackson Baker Wins SA Open of Surfing

Ahhhh Pipeline, what a strange strange wave. Day 4 started off on a promising note, a super ripple 2 foot split peak presented itself just off the boil. Perfect for airs and fins free. Next thing, the sets disappeared and the waves literally began to closeout on the shore. Then without cause or effect, the waves picked up again, in the howling offshore, when they should actually get smaller! Who knows what this wave will do next!? Not even the lord himself. The basic laws of physics don’t apply to Pipe in PE. Regardless we had a pretty dope day of surfing. We crowned a very worthy Open Men’s champion and we’ll be crowning an Open Women’s champion tomorrow.

Adin Masencamp has been on fire through the City Surf Series. It’s only fitting he won the series and finalled at the final event. Image: Thurtell 

Why We’re Stoked for Jackson Baker

It’s funny how everyone has a story. A back story which brought them to where they are today. It takes seven seconds to develop an opinion about someone else, seven seconds to build up an idea of who that person is according to you. But when you listen to their story, engage with their past, you might just find your mind doing a complete 180-degree turn.

Jackson Baker from Australia surfs clean and refined. Typically Australian. His style is technically sound, his arms always correctly placed, no flicking, no odd movements, everything in its right place. If I had to compare Jackson’s style to anything it would be to the city of Singapore. Everything in Singapore works perfectly. The trains run on time (always), the buses go virtually anywhere in the city, the streets are void of any form of litter, and there’s not a vehicle older than 5 years old on the streets. An amazing metropolitan. But to many Singapore lacks grit. They’ve traded character for efficiency. The perfect outlaying of the city, it’s underground connection of railway lines, it’s skyscraper government housing programmes has the ability to feel cold, utilitarian almost. There’s no struggle to survive. Hell if you had to die from anything other than natural causes in Singapore, then it REALLY was your time.

The brutal layback carve that won Jackson the final. Image: Thurtell

That’s often the assumption one makes when you witness such a perfect style. You think ‘surfing programme’. Video analysis. Coaching etc. But when you get to know a little bit more of someone’s backstory, when you understand where they’ve come from, your vision concerning that person becomes clearer. Two years ago Jackson Baker’s mother died, and in a quick post heat interview, he said, “I’m pretty much doing this for her. I want to make my mother proud.” It was then that we realiSed that grit or strength of character doesn’t come from one’s surfing style, it comes from the heart. Well done Jackson Baker, we couldn’t have wished for more of a worthy winner, and we’ll be rooting for you come Ballito.

Jackson Baker drinks in the victory. Image: Thurtell


Fantasy Surfer: 3 Women We Think Could Win Tomorrow
Silvana Lima:
Silvana Lima is an obvious favourite. She’s the highest ranked surfer at the event, and she surfs with the same level of confidence. Day 4 started off with the waves being pretty good. Rippable 2 foot split peaks gently pealing straight off the boil in front of the Pipe. Silvana went hunting for airs, and although she didn’t find any, she still managed to post the highest heat score total of round 2, 16.00. Which was a country mile ahead of the next highest heat score belonging to Justine Dupont; 13.17.


Nicole Pallet:
Nicole Pallet is the last remaining female South African in the draw, all others have fallen by the wayside. As the surf slowly deteriorated throughout the day we went from waves offering multiple attacks at the lip to straight-up closeout bashes on the shore. Competitors had to adapt quickly. Nicole posted one of the highest single wave scores of the day a 7.67. She looks comfortable dealing with the (extremely) unpredictable nature of Pipeline when the waves offer multiple turns, she’s happy to give the wave a going over, and when it’s a straight closeout, she’ll give that lip on a big blitz to make the heat.


Holly Wawn:
Holly’s a tall girl, and if small powerless Pipeline doesn’t support anything, it’s tall surfers. The nuggety bowl just doesn’t suit taller humans. But Holly found a way around the awkwardness of the wave face. Today Holly acquired herself an 8.67 for a big powerful rail carve off the top, a manoeuvre many of the girls were getting hung up on in the offshore conditions, and then went straight into a delightful vertical bash. Personally, we HAD never heard of Holly Wawn, but after her performance today, we’re keeping an eye out.


Enjoy the highlights video below:


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