Grant Twiggy Baker has been awarded the ‘Ride of the Year Award’ at the WSL Big Wave awards. The coveted prize comes shortly after Twiggy claimed the Big Wave World Title (his third) for 2018. 

It was a controversial lead up to the WSL Big Wave Awards, in which debate raged over Laurie Towner’s omission from the final five nominees for Ride of The Year.

While Laurie’s ‘completed’ ride at Cloudbreak may have been a notable absence from the final five, it was ultimately Twiggy’s helter skelter drop-to-barrel at Jaws, during the 2018 Pe’ahi challenge, that claimed the major prize.    


“It was probably the heaviest wave I’ve ever attempted to ride,” commented an exuberant Twiggy as he accepted the award and collected a check for US $75 000 (That goes a long way in South Africa the way their dollar is right now). Twiggy’s speech included this rather frank reference to his stream of consciousness when he hit a step mid-face and was nearly bucked off.  “At that stage I thought you’ve made it far enough so you’re not going to die.”

The other big winners were Kai Lenny and Justine Dupont who both claimed awards for Best Overall Performance and XXL Biggest Wave in the men’s and women’s category respectively.

Discussing his winning ride, Lenny referenced the kind of forecasting exactitude that enabled him to put himself in the path of the thundering Pe’ahi beast. “I saw when the swell was going to peak and thought you’ve got to be in the right place at two o’clock.”

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Meanwhile Dupont rightly pointed out that Tow-in surfing takes two to tango.

"My boyfriend towed me on to almost all the waves. It’s a team sport.”

While one can’t in any way detract from Twiggy’s monumental ride, it’s true that he didn’t finish the wave on his feet.

In a regular WCT heat, and in surfing in general, so much emphasis is placed on completion of ride. Other Big Wave aficionados, like Albee Layer ,have also suggested that completed rides should be part of the criteria for WSL Big Wave surfing. Perhaps there is a need to introduce a category into the WSL Big Wave Awards that sites the ‘Best Completed Ride of The Year.’ Just a Thought...

     See results from the other categories at WSL.