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Grant Baker wins O'Neill Raw Courage paddle award

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker : photo Kimi Stewart

Big Wave News

O’Neill Raw Courage Big Wave Award winners announced : Grant Baker wins Biggest Paddle Wave

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 May, 2010 : - - The winners of 2009/10 O’Neill Raw Courage Big Wave Awards presented by were crowned in dual ceremonies at Long Beach and the Rioja restaurant in Cape Town on Wednesday with legendary big wave charger Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker capturing the premier Biggest Paddle Wave award and R20 000.

The annual awards honour and reward the courage, passion and commitment of South African watermen who take on the country’s biggest waves using only paddling power and more than R40 000 was presented to the winners and the photographers who recorded their feats in categories including Biggest Paddle Wave, Biggest Barrel, Balls to the Wall, PsychoFreak and Grom Charger.

“O’Neill as a brand is really passionate about big wave surfing,” said Paul Canning, Sales & Marketing Manager for O’Neill South Africa. “I really feel that South Africans are at the forefront of the sport and it’s great that we can present the O’Neill Raw Courage Awards to honour them.”

Baker’s winning ride was made at Dungeons in Cape Town and was photographed by Kimi Stewart who picked up R2 500 for the epic image.

The Biggest Barrel award for the surfer riding inside the most spectacular tube between 1 May 2009 and 30 April 2010 went to Sean Holmes while Frank Solomon won the PsychoFreak category for the surfer who produced the WOW factor on a huge wave.

Matt Bromley, 18, was recognised as the Grom Charger of the year, an award designed to foster and encourage big wave surfing amongst youngsters, while the Balls to the Wall title, decided by a poll amongst all the nominees in the Raw Courage Awards, went to the hard charging Simon Lowe for his commitment in every big swell that hits the SA coastline.

The unique awards ceremony started with a memorial paddle-out at Long Beach, Kommetjie for Cape Town big wave pioneer Pierre du Plessis who tragically passed away while swim training at a local gym last Friday. More than 100 friends made their way through the two metre waves to form giant circle behind the break where Pierre’s contribution to the sport was commemorated and wreaths were placed in the ocean in his memory.

The winners of the Raw Courage Awards were then named by MC Ross Lindsay with a medal and a flower lei presented to each by well known surfing personalities Tich Paul and Jonathan Paarman.

Everyone then moved to the Barocca Lounge at Rioja where the crowd enjoyed a Corona Happy Hour, a video show of the winning rides and over R10 000 in prizes, including two top of the line O’Neill wetsuits – a Psycho 2 and a PsycoFreak - were given away in lucky draws. All the nominees received poster-sized copies of their rides and the winning surfers and photographers pocketed their earnings. The revelry continued into the early hours.

All the results for the 2009/10 O’Neill Raw Courage Awards can be found at

The O’Neill Raw Courage Awards has its roots in paddle-in surfing and while all awards besides the Biggest Paddle Wave also accept tow-in rides, the judging criteria favours paddling as the method of catching the wave. It takes more courage to paddle into and ride an 18 foot wave than it does to tow into a 25 footer.

2009/10 O’Neill Raw Courage Awards

Biggest Paddle Wave Award –
Surfer:                        Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker           R20 000
Photographer:            Kimi Stewart                         R2 500

Biggest Barrel Award –
Surfer:                        Sean Holmes                       R5 000
Photographer:            Jeannie Holmes                  R2 000

Balls to the Wall Award –
Surfer:                        Simon Lowe                         R5 000

PsychoFreak Award –
Surfer:                        Frank Solomon                    R5 000
Photographer:            Kelly Cestari                         R2 000

Grom Charger Award –
Surfer:                        Matt Bromley                         R2 000
Photographer:            Kelly Cestari                         R1 000

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