Surf's up: Twiggy picks up SA's biggest prize

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker has scooped up the biggest single-wave prize in SA surfing. (© Fred Pompermeyer, Zigzag)

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker has scooped up the biggest single-wave prize in SA surfing. (© Fred Pompermeyer, Zigzag)

Watch the video here: Oakley 1WW - Ride of the Season

The big wave champion won the Ride of the Season for his 20-foot tube ride in Fiji on June 8 that was dubbed "the greatest day ever in big wave surfing".

The season is open from January 1 to June 31.

The ground-breaking wave, caught at Cloudbreak reef off Tavarua Island, earned him a total R39 000 cash and a Yamaha VX1100 WaveRunner valued at R120 000.

The 39-year-old put his life on the line throughout the event, only to be overtaken by the aerial surfing of younger challengers.

"How lucky am I?" said an overwhelmed Baker during the 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, runs over six months during which South African surfers can upload a video clip of their best ride.

Each month's best ride is decided by a panel of expert judges whose vote counts for 50%. The other 50% of the vote is decided by the public.

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 editor Will Bendix. "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."

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