Kevin Cody

South African ‘Twiggy’ Baker dominates finals of Body Glove Mavericks Big Wave Contest

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There were no snaps, no floaters, no (deliberate) aerials, or other trick maneuvers at the Body Glove  Mavericks Invitational at Half Moon Bay on Friday.

Judges scored the 24 contestants simply for surviving the drop.

South African Grant “Twiggie” Baker was awarded a perfect 10 for making a bottom turn, getting covered up and doing a bunny hop when he hit an inside ledge known as the “Nugget.”

What made the otherwise routine ride so impressive was that the wave had a 35- to 40-foot face and Baker’s board was vertical until he reached the bottom. Why he didn’t pitch pole is a mystery.

Friday’s take-offs were so steep that on one wave Hawaiian Shane Dorian went into a three point stance, like a lineman, with his left hand on the nose.

Friday’s surf report predicted a 20-foot swell. But when a 20-foot swell focuses on Maverick’s 30-foot deep reef, the waves jack up to 30- to 40-foot. The waves moved so quickly that between the time the paddlers stopped paddling and leapt to their feet, they were sucked up from the trough to the lip.

Mavericks board president Rockie Raynor described the waves as the “heaviest”  in the contest’s history.

“In 2010, the waves were bigger, but clean. This year the waves were thicker and bumpy from the wind,” Raynor said.

 None of this seemed to bother Baker, a pioneer of South Africa’s aptly named Dungeons slab, and who was coming off a victory in last month’s Punta Galea Challenge in Spain.

Baker took off deeper and seemingly twice as often as the five other finalists,

In addition to his 10 point wave, the judges awarded Baker a 9.3, for total of 29,3. (The top scoring wave was counted double to encourage risk taking.)

Dorian racked up 25.53 points, by virtue of staying on his feet after seemingly impossible-to-make vertical drops.

Given the fact that Dorian arrived at the contest that morning at 5 a.m., after spending the previous day surfing even larger swells at Jaws, off of Maui, keeping on his feet was especially impressive.

Mavericks local Ryan Augenstein was third (16.33 points), followed by fellow local Tyler Fox, (12.0) Greg Long of San Clemente (12.0) and local, 2005  Mavericks champion Anthony Tashnick (0.0).

“There are two contests you need to win to be remembered as a big wave rider — the Eddie Aikau in Hawaii and Mavericks. I’m honored to have won one of them,” Baker said at the awards ceremony.

The winners trophy was a three-foot-tall, bronze sculpture of Body Glove co-founders Bob and Bill Meistrell, who popularized the modern wetsuit, making cold water contests like Mavericks possible. The trophy was sculpted by Hermosa Beach surfer Chris Barella.

In presenting the trophy, Body Glove president Robbie Meistrell said the sculpture  was to have been presented to his father Bob Meistrell last September, on the 60th anniversary of Body Glove parent company Dive N’ Surf. But Bob Meistrell died on Father’s Day while preparing his boat to lead the annual Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race.

“It’s only fitting the the sculpture is going to another true waterman,” Meistrell said.

The next stop on the Big Wave World Tour is the Dive N’ Surf at Todos Santos, on Todos Santos island off of Ensenada. Forty-eight hours advance  notice will be given of the contest date, which is dependent on a large swell forecast.  For more information visit Dive N’ Surf.com. ER

 

Baker was presented with a bronze sculpture of Body Glove co-founders Bob and Bill Meistrell, who popularized the modern wetsuit, making cold water contests like Mavericks possible.

The next stop on the Big Wave World Tour is scheduled for Wednesday at Todos Santos Island, off of Ensenada. The contest is sponsored by Body Glove’s Redondo Beach sister company Dive N’ Surf. For more information visit Dive N’ Surf.com ER

 

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