A heroic performance in ridiculously heavy 20 foot waves saw Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker clinch his second Mavericks Big Wave Invitational title (his previous was in 2006). Following his victory at the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Spain on 22 December, this win cements Twig’s spot atop the 2013/14 Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) standings.
Chris Bertish and Frank Solomon celebrate with Twiggy in the channel shortly after the final.
You could have guessed it too. Twiggy has had the eye of the tiger ever since a consistent run of swell back home in September gave him plenty of heavy water sessions to test new equipment at Dungeons, Sunset Reef and a crazy big wave spot in the Boland. He then took that momentum and launched his clothing brand ’Twig’, before heading to the northern hemisphere to prepare for exactly this. He has been f-o-c-u-s-s-e-d.
A perfect ten in his opening heat included a calm, hand-dragging line through the inside bowl. Not quite deep in the barrel, but ‘on the stoep’ as Twiggy described it in his post heat interview. On the stoep indeed – he looked that in control and relaxed.
That’s all the judges needed to see. Chris Bertish saw it too and shortly after predicted that Twiggy will be taking home the trophy.
Chris put on a heroic performance of his own in Heat 1, after he and all bar one of his fellow competitors took a massive clean-up set on the head to start things off. Considering he had just flown halfway around the world a couple of hours before, it was amazing that he could shake that off and still manage to catch some bombs during his heat.
Check this out. It’s tail between the legs stuff. Mark Healey was somewhere near Chris when this set pulled through.
After taking his committed and confident approach all the way to the final, Twig clinched the title ahead of Hawaiian Shane Dorian and local charger Ryan Augenstein.
The newly crowned Mavericks champ then gave this proudly Saffa shout-out during his post-victory interview. Watch below.
Check out the official press release below, or go to mavericksinvitational.com for more.
South Africa’s Grant Baker Dominates The Mavericks Invitational In Giant Waves
Twiggy rides a bomb on his way to victory.
Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, California (Friday 24 January) – Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) won the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational presented by GoPro in giant waves with faces that exceeded 13 metres (40 foot) at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay in Santa Cruz, California on Friday.
Competing against 23 of the world’s best big wave chargers in the fourth stop on the Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour, Baker gave a clinic in high performance big wave surfing throughout the event, winning his Round 1 heat, finishing second in the semis and dominating the final. The 40 year-old Durbanite caught the most waves, taking off in the perfect position, manoeuvring his way around the bone-crushing white-water and pulling into and emerging from a gaping tube.
He posted two perfect 10 point rides on the day, the first in Round 1 and the other in the final, where he finished with a near perfect tally of 29.33 out of 30.
“I’m feeling pretty good – amazing in fact!” said Baker on the headquarters boat after the final. “Two of my favourite surfers in the world, Shane Dorian and Greg Long, were in the final so to win Mavericks is the greatest feeling in the world!”
“The waves were pretty big – there were some 20 foot sets (40 foot on the face) in the final. The wind made it choppy and it looked like there was no way you could make it. We just put our heads down and had to go because it was the final. I just got lucky that I didn’t hit a bump halfway down and get catapulted.”
“I’d like to thank everyone in South Africa for their support. This is it, we are the best.” Baker said after being chaired around the boat by Capetonians Frank Solomon (an alternate competitor for the event) and Chris Bertish, the 2010 Mavericks champion who was eliminated in Round 1 today after a 36 hour flight from his hometown, leaving on Wednesday and arriving in Santa Cruz on Thursday evening.
The victory was Baker’s second at Mavericks after his triumph in 2006 and also his second in succession on the BWWT following his win in the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Spain in December. He now holds a substantial lead in the 2013/14 rankings.
Shane Dorian (Hawaii) finished runner-up despite only arriving at the event venue at 5am on Friday after spending eight hours on Thursday paddling into enormous waves at Jaws on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
The huge waves and tricky wind conditions produced some spectacular wipeouts including Mark Healy’s two wave-hold down, Anthony Tashnick’s upside down over-the-falls tumble and Shawn Dollar’s death defying dive when he was catapulted off his board.
See highlights footage of the final of the 2014 Body Glove Mavericks Invitational at http://www.mavericksinvitational.com/heat-analyzer/
The Xpreshon BWWT continues with the Seatka Pro at Nelscott Reef in Oregon, USA, and the Dive & Surf @ Todos Santos in Mexico, both of which have holding periods that run until 31 March 2014 to wait for ideal conditions. See further details at http://bigwaveworldtour.com/
Body Glove Mavericks Invitational Results
1. Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) – 29.33 pts
2. Shane Dorian (Hawaii) – 25.53
3. Ryan Augenstein (California) – 16.66
4. Tyler Fox (California) – 12.66
5. Greg Long (California) – 12.00
6. Anthony Tashnick (California) – 0.0