It was a monstrous wave. One of those that rears up and bears down on the reef with a tapering wall on it. In the forty to fifty-foot range, with a howling offshore, it was the sort of thick, menacing lump that would have most surfers absolutely terrified. A wave that would make normal surfers start to shake uncontrollably that would make brave surfers panic, and make nervous surfers cry.

Most surfers, however, would only ever watch this sort of stuff on a screen. Only a small handful of surfers will ever be in the water during a situation like this.

For someone of the ilk of Twiggy Baker, however, it was an opportunity.

 

"If you had

One shot

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

In one moment

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?"

- Eminem.

 

He remembers that wave as having a little bit more north, a little bit less wall, but it had double-up written all over it. That's the kind of wave that you want at Jaws apparently, a fifty-foot double-up.

Twiggy put his head down and paddled for the beast. More than a beast, it was a wave from hell, but Twig snagged it, and despite the offshore holding him up, he launched over the ledge and into the drop.

About half-way down there was a boil, a lump on the face. "I didn't want to get any air over it," remembered Twig of that dreaded bump. "I just wanted to keep my fins in."

He negotiated it, and for a split second teetered on the edge of disaster, before he felt his whole rail resettle, and he started turning off the bottom.

It was the next moment, this infinitesimal spec of time, that defined Twig, as he made the decision to pull into the barrel, one of the biggest barrels ever seen.

He hooked in, under the lip, and parked it in a barrel that was hard to comprehend. It was so big, so wide and moving so fast that the magnitude and ferocity of the wave were lost in translation, as the focus was primarily on the rider.

He rode it, and he had a good line, but it didn't end well and as the foam ball caught up and the barrel engulfed him he was swatted from his 10'4, which actually emerged from the barrel.

It was an incredible ride, possibly the epitome of what the Big Wave Tour was all about. Twiggy was a worthy challenger to be in the path of that awesome swell, so many miles from home.

It didn't end there. At the WSL Big Wave Awards, Twiggy was a nominee in both the 2019 Men's Paddle Award as well as the Ride Of The Year Award. Everyone knew for sure that he was going to win the Men's Paddle Award, but the fact that his barrel wasn't a make, suggested it perhaps wasn’t a contender for Ride Of The Year. No way.

Much to everyone's surprise, he claimed both awards, and he was one very stoked big wave rider at the awards ceremony. Some people said afterward that he didn't deserve it, that the wave didn’t fit the criteria because it wasn’t a make, but regardless of the naysayers, he walked away with the well-deserved prizes and the cash.

That ride was groundbreaking, and the fact that he paddled for it, negotiated the bump, found an edge, and pulled into that monstrosity is deserving of all sorts of prizes.
As it was, he earned $US 75 000 for a single wave – cha-ching.