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Twiggy Will Go

Eddie Should Know Better

by Andy Davis / 18.11.2009

Back in September we ran an article about how the most prestigious event in the world of big wave surfing, the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, long the preserve of American and the odd Australian surfers, was about to open up their doors to the legion of South African big wave surfers, who rank among the best in the world but are consistently left out in the cold. All you had to do was get online and vote. Thousands did. They led us to believe that the crew of South African big wave surfers actually stood a chance of being included after years of honing their skills at the heavy water breaks that litter the Southern tip of the African continent. For there can be no doubt, the South African big wave surfing community is steadily pushing the boundaries of what is surfable, winter after winter.

So they came out with the list of invitees yesterday and lo and behold there is only one South African on the list. Out of 28 invitees and 24 alternates, there is only space for one South African. His name is Grant “Twiggy” Baker, and on form alone, he probably ranks as the best big wave surfer in the world right now. In the last few years he has won every major big wave surfing event, plus the XXL biggest wave award and overall performance award. They literally could not exclude him. But ther was no place, not even amongst the alternates, for big wave maniacs like Chris Bertish, who has been pushing the envelope of what’s possible in the sport for years. No space for James Taylor, who consistently takes off deeper and catches bigger waves than all the locals and the internationals surfing Dungeons, time and again. No room for Jason Ribbink, Mike Schlebach and most upsetting, no place for Andy Marr, a supremely talented South African big wave surfer who returns to Hawaii year after year, like a devout pilgrim, just to surf the hallowed waves of Waimea Bay.

Out of the 52 invitees and alternates there are 41 Americans, even though Quiksilver seems keen to point out the difference between Hawaiians and Americans, they’re really, legally, the same thing. Deal with it. Then there are the two Australians, Ross Clarke Jones and Tom Carroll, both of them probably too old for professional, competitive, paddle-in big wave surfing, but on the list all the same. And the thing that really gets me fuming is that Twiggy Baker and other surfers from Chile, Spain and France who have made the cut, are categorised under the title of “International Invitees”. While Carlos Burle (Brazil), Tom Caroll and Ross Clarke-Jones manage to get lumped in with the regular invitees. So what’s the criteria here? How come the Brazilian and Aussies are included while the rest fall under the “International Invitee” tag? It feels like in the search for some kind of global recognition as “the world’s longest-running and most respected big wave contest” a la press release, they just tacked on these “International Invitees” onto what is really just a parochial, American big wave surfing event.

This kind of narrow minded provincialism does nothing to promote the sport of big wave surfing outside of the established hegemony of the surf world. And it erodes the credibility of the Eddie. The best thing Twiggy can do is win the whole event and stick it to them, for the rest of us.

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  1. papa bear says:

    Biig wave is as big wave does. Who needs the recognition of a sponsor or a brand or an invite to know they are good? Should they really be riding big waves if they just do it for the fame?
    Shouldn’t it be love? If it’s love, who cares about the invite? Or is ego so much of it that they need “sicksilver” to scratch their backs and make them feel good? If that’s the case, shame on these surfers. When last did Johnny Paarman complain about not being invited to an event? Let your surfing do the talking pansies.
    And to the journalist. Please learn how to spell Quiksilver…

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  2. G says:

    I think it’s cool that qs was misspelt…it hasn’t imprinted in the memory, no matter how hard it’s tried.

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  3. Andy says:

    OK, point taken on the Quiksilver thing. Should be fixed now. Now to your other points. Johnny Paarman is too old to compete in big wave events. World class, competitive big wave surfers, of which Cape Town produces many, need to surf in events like the Eddie in order to get enough of a profile to make a living from the sport. That doesn’t mean they “just do it for the fame”. But these are extremely talented professional athletes who risk a lot to surf these waves, and if they’re good enough, they should be given every opportunity to earn a living from their talent.

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  4. P says:

    Big up’s for Twiggy bummer for Mr Patience!This event used to be about the Ou’s around the islands in respect to the Aikau family in the Aloha spirit which Quik marketed extremely well over past few years! Time changes things, many events are exploited. This goes for all marketable competitive sports. They are heaps of Ou’s charging around world who don’t care about the credits but crave that unique adrenaline that big wave surfing delivers– credit and respect is gained every time we get in the water! I don’t believe the Saffa’s need to be included in Eddie to gain there stripes, trust me they have already got there stripes on a worldwide level this has been through many talented and passionate surfers charging globally for 50 yrs + on minimal coin. The money thing, screw it! If you just want to surf and hunt waves you always financially will find a way to be in the water at the right time although most need to conform to sociality to do so…I am sure the Saffa’s will “maak a plan” down the line.

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  5. Pauly says:

    Where does the big bear sleep?

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  6. Andy says:

    wherever he damn well pleases

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  7. Davis Miller says:

    I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a “real surfer bar” in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don’t want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It’s nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect “escape” from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn’t on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o’ shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song “Brandy”? It goes, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.” I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that’s a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.

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  8. MUGNAIART says:

    WHAT AN AWESOME SITE, Twiggy is by the far the best Big wave surfer in the worls right now,
    Im a proud Durbanite. To leave surfers like Jason ribbink out is absolute bullshit, I’ve grown up here in Durban and he’s always be known to be a legend of the sport.
    I hope our Durban boys leave the rest of them eating foamies.

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