Twiggy drops in at Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 May, 2015 - Punta de Lobos, Chile - Durbanite Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker placed fifth in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational which was won by Makuakai Rothman (HAW) in huge 10 – 13 metre (30 – 40 foot) waves at Punta De Lobos in Peru on Saturday.
The 24-man field was given the green light for the event to run on Thursday but the predicted swell did not materialise until late in the day. Organisers eventually got the event underway in 5 to 8 metre waves at 3pm and completed all four Round 1 heats before dark.
Baker, the 2013 World Big Wave Champion, was in the first heat of the day and won the six-man clash convincingly. He recorded scores of 8.83 and 8.33 (both out of 10) on his two counting rides for a heat total of 25.99 points (out of 30) as the highest single score for each competitor is doubled in value.
Capetonian Frank Solomon, who had only arrived at the contest site at 4am that morning after his surfboards were lost in transit, just failed to advance to the semis when he finished in fourth place behind Baker, local and defending event champion Marcos Monteiro (CHL) and Koa Rothman (HAW).
The swell filled in overnight and the semi-finalists were greeted by enormous walls of water peeling down the left-breaking point at first light on Saturday. Baker again dominated his encounter, posting rides of 8.83 and 6.57 to finish five points ahead of eventual event runner-up Cristian Merello (CHL) and eight ahead of event winner Rothman.
In the second semi, local standout Ramon Navarro rode what was considered the biggest wave of the day, a massive 15 metre mountain of water that earned the Chilean a near perfect score of 9.70. The final belonged to Rothman who rode a total of six waves including a pair of eight pointers. Baker was only in position to ride two waves and finished behind Merello, Navarro and American Nic Lamb. Australian Mark Mathews was sixth.
The Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational was the first event on the 2015 / 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT). Two more events in Peru and Mexico are scheduled for the period May 15 to October 31.
Those are followed by four events in Oregon, Baja California, Maui and the Basque country during the period October 15 to February 28, 2016 before the 2015/16 world champion big wave surfer will be crowned.
Results of the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 24.29
2. Cristian Merello CHL 23.17
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 22.31
4. Nic Lamb USA 20.74
5. Grant Baker ZAF 19.79
6. Mark Mathews AUS 17.97
Semifinals (Top 3 to final)
SF1: 1. Grant Baker ZAF 24.23, 2. Cristian Merello CHL 19.77,3. Makuakai Rothman HAW 16.67,4. Koa Rothman HAW 16.49,5. Marcos Monteiro BRA 15.19, 6. Mark Healey HAW 14.24
SF2: 1. Ramon Navarro CHL 26.30,2. Mark Mathews AUS 25.93, 3. Nic Lamb USA 25.34, 4. Damien Hobgood USA 24.49, 5. Diego Medina CHL 19.77, 6. Carlos Burle BRA 6.37
Round 1 (Top 3 to semi-finals)
H1: 1. Grant Baker (ZAF) 25.99pts, 2. Marcos Monteiro (BRA) 25.21pts, 3. Koa Rothman (HAW) 25.00pts, 4. Frank Solomon (ZAF) 19.54pts, 5. Federico Mekis (CHL) 15.57pts, 6. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 8.34pts
H2: 1. Mark Healey (HAW) 26.83pts, 2. Cristian Merello (CHL) 24.47pts, 3. Makua Rothman (HAW) 24.23pts, 4. Renialdo Ibarra (CHL) 21.40pts, 5. Nathan Fletcher (USA) 18.87pts, 6. Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.27pts
H3: 1. Nic Lamb (USA) 27.49pts, 2. Mark Mathews (AUS) 24.00pts, 3. Ramon Navarro , CHL) 22.37pts, 4. Fernando Zegers (CHL) 20.67pts, 5. Alex Gray (USA) 20.16pts, 6. Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.06pts
H4: 1. Diego Medina (CHL) 23.31pts, 2. Carlos Burle (BRA) 20.21pts, 3. Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.63pts, 4. Josh Kerr (USA) 17.97pts, 5. Jamie Sterling (HAW) 12.34pts, 6. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 3.66pts
2015/16 WSL Big Wave Tour Rankings
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 12,500
2. Cristian Merello CHL 10,416
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 8,680
4. Nic Lamb USA 7,234
5. Grant Baker ZAF 6,029
6. Mark Mathews AUS 5,024
=13. Frank Solomon ZAF 1,089