14 March, 2014 14 March, 2014

We Have A New World Champ! Twiggy Baker is Unofficially the Official Big Wave World Tour Champ

It’s not official (yet), but Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is the 2013/14 Big Wave World Tour champion. All’s quiet from the governing body for now, but there seems to be no two ways about it – Twiggy can’t be beaten. With two wins and a podium finish in the third of the three events surfed this year, he has an insurmountable lead with only the Dive ’N Surf Todos Santos Pro left to complete.

Twiggy-Look
The champ has shown great focus this season.

According to the BWWT scoring system, 1000 points are awarded for first place in a BWWT event, but these points get adjusted according to wave size with 30ft (faces) and under getting adjusted to 85% (of 1000) and to a maximum of 140% if the waves exceed 50ft. Which means, should Twiggy’s closest rival, Ken ‘Skindog’ Collins go on to win the Todos event in truly monstrous waves while Twiggy finishes last, Ken would still only get his score to 2540.13 (currently on 1140), while Twiggy will get 150 points for 11th place, taking his tally to 2609.00 (currently on 2459). Basically Twig just needs to paddle out.

We contacted the new big wave king to check what’s the deal, as well as to find out when we can expect him back home so we can all celebrate his achievement.

ZIGZAG: Howzit Twiggy, congrats on making the final at the Dive ’N Surf Oregon Pro. You stoked with your performance out there?
TWIGGY: It was a tough day to compete with the waves small and inconsistent early, then pretty big and consistent, but with wind and chop to make life difficult. The lineup was scattered and there was a raging side wash as well so it was more gruelling than fun, but in the end I was stoked to make a few heats and just couldn’t find the right wave in the final.

Twiggy_Nelscott
Twiggy made the final at Nelscott Reef, ensuring he has an insurmountable lead in the rankings.

It hasn’t been officially announced, but you have an insurmountable lead in the BWWT rankings. Can we call you world champ yet?
I’m a little lost on this one as there hasn’t been a formal announcement and I don’t want to claim it just yet, but from what I’ve seen on the ratings it’s impossible for anyone to catch me even if Todos runs. So yes, I would say that South Africa has another World Champ!

Nelscott Reef looks like a difficult wave to find the right spot to grab a wave. Have you surfed there before and how easily did you find your bearings?
I have surfed there before and it reminds me a little of Dungeons, so I felt quite comfortable out there. Also the conditions got wild and wooly, which normally suits my surfing. It’s a good big wave and fun to surf, but yesterday was testing.

What’s next? Will you be hanging around in the US and waiting for the Todos event to possibly run, or heading back to Hawaii? When will you be coming back home so the Saffa fans can join you to celebrate your achievement?
I am so ready to get home! Four months on the road is a long time and I’m craving South Africa, but at the same time there’s still two weeks left in the waiting period and I need to stick it out. So I’m in California for the next week or so, with Mavericks looking good for this weekend and then I can start seeing into the future and if there is another swell on the maps for Todos before the 31 March, otherwise I’m out of here.

Twig_Mavs_Seq
On his way to victory at Mavericks in January.

And Dungeons is back on the BWWT. Are the other competitors excited? Have they been asking you about it?
Everyone I have spoken to is very excited to come over to Cape Town and share our waves this year. There’s been a big influx of South African surfers at Mavericks and in Hawaii over the past few years and we have put out this image as respectful and well mannered surfers and the guys are stoked to come and hang with us and soak up some Saffa hospitality. Its going to be an amazing event!

Unfortunately Mavericks is not on the BWWT anymore, but Jaws is. You had a couple of crazy sessions out there a week or so back. That’s more than a handful of sessions out there for you now. Think you’ve figured it out?
Sheez, I don’t know if you can ever really figure out a wave like Jaws but I have been plugging away out there for a few years and finally this season felt like I was getting more comfortable. So definitely haven’t figured it out, but now at least I believe I’m capable of putting in a solid performance if the event runs next season.

What sort of size wave is it possible to paddle into out there – conditions permitting, of course, we know Maui can be windy?
It’s very possible to catch a 60ft wave out there if it’s glassy and the swell direction is more North. It’s the future of Big Wave surfing along with Cortez and some of our outer reefs in the Western Cape. Onwards and upwards!

Jaws_Twiggy
On a massive wave at Jaws two weeks ago.

Anyways, we look forward to seeing you back on our shores. Anything you’d like to add before we let you go, champ?
(Laughs) That sounds weird, ‘champ’. I’m stoked that all the hard work and sacrifice both myself and Kate have put in over the last few years has paid off and that South African surfing has another World Champ to add to its collection and that my name will be held alongside all the great surfers who have come before me. Go Jordy and Bianca!!

Here is the official Xpreshon Big Wave World Tour Title Race scenario after the 5th stop, the Dive N’ Surf Oregon Pro.

1st: Grant “Twiggy” Baker (SOUTH AFRICA) 2,459.00
2nd: Ken “Skindog” Collins (USA) 1,140.13
3rd: Nic Lamb (USA) 1,117.50
4th: Shawn Dollar (USA) 938.50
5th: Kohl Christensen (HAWAII) 864.88
6th:Alex Gray (USA) 850.00
7th: Shane Dorian (HAWAII) 810.00
8th: Greg Long USA 731.38
9th: Ryan Augustine (USA) 710.75
10th: Anthony Tashnick (USA) 666.00
11th: Ramon Navarro (CHILE) 629.38
12th: Jamie Mitchell (AUSTRALIA) 599.38

5 Comments

  1. JHL
    14 March, 2014 at 12:34 pm · Reply

    Legend!

  2. Anton
    14 March, 2014 at 3:42 pm · Reply

    Um, hate to pour cold water on this, but here’s a scenario where twig isn’t champ: say skindog wins in 50ft plus, but twig can’t paddle out – injury, illness, locked up, attending to more urgent personal matters, etc. I mean hell, we hope not, but shit happens. remember how a few years ago someone lost their job for announcing a world champ when their was still a theoretical chance of it not being so?

  3. Chris
    14 March, 2014 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    Yeah Twiggy you are a legend! Being awesome watching the live feeds and for you to do so well.
    Maybe have a rethink in terms of bringing out the champagne just yet.
    Twiggy by my calc should have 2535.5 points = 2000 prior + 0.85 x 630points for =third placing at Oregon. It appears BWWT have used the points for 4th place = to get to 2459 total – I suggest Twiggy queries this?.
    Also for last place surely this is equal 21st NOT 11th (there are 24 surfers). In my opinion, you have to get to the semis for a worst placing of 11th and 150 points.
    What does BWWT award for =13th, =17th AND =21st. If I look at the BWWT scores, lowest guys have points of 120, 95 and 75 respectively, so presumably these are the points for those placings (???).
    By my calc assuming last place is 75points, and twiggy paddles out and gets last (=21st) AND that the point coefficient is 1.4x for waves > 50feet, his tally goes up to 2564.00 points (based on Twiggy’s current score which may be wrong = 2459.00 points) AND if Ken Collins wins his score is 2540.13. If Twiggy does not make the Todos contest, his points would be 2459, SO theoretically he has not won (yet) – Twiggy just has to make it to the contest AND paddle out.

  4. Kevin
    14 March, 2014 at 4:28 pm · Reply

    Rusty Long (Greg Long’s brother) is also reporting that Twiggy is champ. It would be great if the BWWT just release the actual scenarios and put an end to the debate. http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/alex-gray-wins-dive-n-surf-oregon-pro_107485/

  5. potthief
    15 March, 2014 at 5:06 am · Reply

    yus…… Twiggy you are such a legend….

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