Grant “Twiggy” Baker’s 2006 victory at Maverick’s went a long way in placing himself, as well as South Africa as a whole, into the forefront of not only the Big Wave Surfing community, but the entire Surfing world in general. What sets Baker apart is the style in which he charges some of the most massive waves the world has to offer, surfing them with the fluidity and approach that is more common on waves half the size of the heavy waves he is known for lighting up.
With his mind-blowing performance at a heaving Dungeons this past weekend, Baker added another prestigious title to his name by becoming the 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa Champion. By doing so, he has not only sealed his spot as one of the world’s premier big-wave riders, but also reminded us all that Big Wave Surfing in South Africa is vibrantly progressing and has a lot more in store for us in the years to come.
5ones: Grant, first off, congratulations on your incredible victory this past weekend! It must have been off the charts to win an event of this magnitude so close to home. How does your 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa win compare to your victory at Mav’s in ‘06?
Grant “Twiggy” Baker: The BWA is something that us surfers in South Africa hold very dear to our hearts. It’s what brought us all together in the first place and gave us the opportunity to take Big Wave surfing in South Africa to the world. To win is the ultimate achievement for me in our small sport of Big Wave Surfing and something that will always be with me. The win at Mavericks likewise is something that I will never forget, it gave me the opportunity to prove to the rest of the world that South Africa has surfers that can compete at that level and win.
5ones: For us non big-wave surfers, what are some of the thoughts and feelings you experience as you turn to paddle into a bomb at places like Dungeons and Maverick’s?
Twiggy: Ha ha….It’s a weird on that. It’s a feeling of both excitement and terror that this could be the wave of your life or the last…ha ha. No it’s not that serious, it’s what we do and what we train and prepare for so when the time comes to go…you go!!
5ones: Who are some of the surfers you looked up to, as well as those who have influenced your surfing?
Twiggy: Growing up in South Africa we were always in awe of the guys surfing Mavericks and Waimea, but I learned first from guys like Greg Swart and John Whittle in Durban and then Davy Stolk and Mickey Duffus in Cape Town, as well as my uncle Ari Kraak in J-bay. We have so many good big wave surfers up and down the coast in South Africa and all of them have had an influence on me during sessions over the years.
5ones: What was your very first surfing memory?
Twiggy: Having fun with my friends in Durban on the pump house and causing all sorts of trouble!!
5ones: You get to choose everything that would be in your dream session; location, wave size, conditions, crew, etc…How would it go?
Twiggy: Wow, great question….The location would have to be Bawa in Indonesia before the Tsunami, 12ft+ with the late afternoon offshore blowing on a draining spring low tide so it’s doubling up through the inside bowl. The Long Brothers, Reg, Mogwai, Flame, Edy, Warren Dean and Holmsie trading the biggest barrels you will ever see with AVG shooting water!!
Thanks for the interview and congratulations once again to Grant “Twiggy” Baker, the 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa Champion!
Tags: 5 with 5's
Posted by Shaun on Thursday, July 31st, 2008 in Surfing.