Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban, South Africa, won the Ride of the Year, the premiere category in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, at a glittering function in Anaheim, California tonight (Australia time).
Baker, 36, pocketed US $50 000 (approx. R375 000) for his incredible ride on an enormous wave that he paddled into during the Mavericks Surf Contest at Half Moon Bay in California on 13 February 2010.
“This is for my country, South Africa! We have the FIFA World Cup later this year and we’re a proud nation,” Baker said in his victory speech after thanking the El Nino weather conditions for producing the most amazing year of big waves around the planet, his fellow nominees for their incredible performances and confessing that he did not have a speech prepared as he did not expect to win.
“Thanks to all the guys back at Dungeons (in Cape Town) and everyone here tonight. Drinks are on me!” Baker added as he celebrated on stage with the giant cheque.
Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the 2010 awards recognize the biggest and heaviest waves ridden and documented over the past twelve months.
2300 surf-stoked fans packed the Grove Theater in Anaheim to witness mind-blowing rides from Chile, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, California and French Polynesia. In what proved to be one of the best years in big wave surfing history, over 1000 images and videos were submitted for judging. The awards are decided by a panel of 400 surfers, selected surf media and big wave aficionados.
Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremberg, Germany) finished first for a giant ride at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on a monster wave that took everyone by surprise for its size and speed.
“It feels good; it’s what I live for,” said Steudtner. “I moved to Hawaii when I was 16; a Hawaiian family took me in and taught me how to surf. I am honored to win this thing.”
Shawn Dollar officially surfed into the record books for riding a paddle-in wave judged to be 55ft+ (17m) to win the Monster Paddle Award.
“It’s like winning a Gold Medal or winning the World Series,” said Dollar.
“It’s been the most important thing in my life for many years and I’ve accomplished it – phenomenal!”
The 2010 Billabong XXL Awards were webcast in over a dozen countries with a worldwide audience that broke records for a surfing awards event.
BILLABONG XXL RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD (Surfer prize $50,000 – Video prize $5,000)
1st: Grant Baker Durban, South Africa) at Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010. (Video by Noel Robinson)
2nd: Ramon Navarro (Pichilemu, Chile) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 8, 2009. (Video by Marc Beaty/Surfline)
3rd: Shane Dorian (Kona, Kauai, Hawaii) Maverick’s, California on February 13, 2010. (Video by Noel Robinson)
4th: Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17, 2010 (Video by Aaron Lieber)
5th: Mark Healey/Shane (Sunset Beach & Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Waimea Bay, Hawaii on December 7, 2009. Ride of the Year video by Noel Robinson
WINNER BILLABONG XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD
(Surfer prize $15,000 and a Honda Aquatrax watercraft with HSA sled – Photo/video prize $4,000)
Sebastian Steudtner (Germany) at Jaws, Maui on December 7th 2009. (Photo by Batel Shimi)
WINNER MONSTER PADDLE AWARD (Surfer prize $15,000 – Photo/video prize $4,000)
Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz, California, USA) at Mavericks, California on
February 13th, 2010 (Photos by Fred Pompermayer)
WINNER MONSTER TUBE PHOTO AWARD NOMINEES (Surfer prize $5,000 – Photography prize $2,000)
Raimana Van Bastolaer (Tahiti, French Polynesia) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on March 17th, 2010. (Photo by Ben Thouard)
WINNER BEST MALE OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD (Surfer prize $5,000)
Shane Dorian (Kona, Kauai, Hawaii)
WINNER BILLABONG GIRLS BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD (Surfer prize $5,000)
Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
VERIZON WIRELESS WIPEOUT (Surfer prize $5,000)
Brook Phillips Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania, Australia on October 19th 2009.
Pictured: Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker on the ride at Mavericks that won him us
$50 000 for the Ride of the Year in the 2010 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave
Awards. Photo: Frank Quirarte / BillabongXXL.com