5 May 2014
South African surfer Grant “Twiggy” Baker picked up two awards at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards in Southern California on Friday evening, cementing his position as one of the world’s great big wave riders.
Baker received the award for winning the 2013/14 ASP Big Wave World Tour and also claimed the Surfline Best Overall Performance.
‘Travel and surf’
“All I ever wanted to do is travel and surf and that’s what this world title means to me,” Baker said at the Awards.
“I’m feeling more competitive than ever. I’d love to have a heat with Kelly Slater in 25-foot-plus waves. He’d probably still beat me, but at least I’d have a chance.”
The Billabong XXL Ride of the Year went the way of Greg Long. “To win Ride of the Year is fantastic, but riding those waves is what I’m here to do,” he commented.
“The fear is an underlying motivator and turning the fear into something positive is what big wave surfing does for me. When you’re riding a big wave you’re so focused and it’s like time goes into slow motion.”
‘It’s like winning the Oscars’
The Billabong Women’s Best Overall Performance was awarded to Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly. “It’s like winning the Oscars, especially in front of all the other big wave guys,” she said.
“Last year I won this award, cashed the check and three days later I was in Teahupoo for a big swell. It was the first time I’d been back since my face injury there. To come back and overcome my fear and get the best wave was a huge personal triumph for me.”
Frenchman Gautier Garanx picked up the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award for a 62- footer he rode in Belharra, Spain.
“To be here is a dream,” said Gautier Garanx. “All my idols are here, the superstars, and tonight I’m with them. That wave was easily the biggest of my life.”
2014/15 ASP Big Wave World Tour
Southern Hemisphere (15 April 2014 through 31 August 2014)
Northern Hemisphere (1 October 2014 to 28 February 2015)