- 28 February 2017 | Surfing
Grant "Twiggy" Baker and Paige Alms have taken out the 2016/2017 Big Wave Tour (BWT) titles.
The big wave surfing competition organized by the World Surf League (WSL) ran three events - Puerto Escondido Challenge, Peahi Challenge, and the Nazaré Challenge.
Grant Baker kicked off the season with a victory in Mexico, kept his composure, and secured a third place in Hawaii, and a seventh finish in Portugal. With this results, the South African secures the second BWT trophy of his career, after winning the title in 2013.
"I put in a lot of time and effort into this year and it is amazing that it has paid off. I got married two years ago and had a daughter last year, so my priorities to surf big waves have definitely changed to give them the best possible future," explained Baker.
"They drive me to catch bigger waves. The progression of big wave surfing in the past few years has been exponential, and the competition side is pushing the performance level of the sport."
Paige Alms has been crowned the first ever female big wave champion. The Hawaiian daredevil beat 11 talented opponents at the Peahi Challenge, and wrote a new chapter in the history of the sport.
"I am happy to be an ambassador for the sport and for women in surfing. That was a win for women's surfing and a win for the Maui community. It wasn't just a win for me," expressed Alms.
"For female big wave surfing, the more opportunities that we have like that in an empty line up, the more you're going to see the best big wave women doing the best big wave surfing. I am really looking forward to seeing what the WSL has in store for next year."
2016/2017 Big Wave Tour | Top 5
1. Grant Baker (ZAF) 25,018 points
2. Pedro Calado (BRA) 21,943
3. Greg Long (USA) 21,921 points
4. Carlos Burle (BRA) 18,175
5. Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 15,690
1. Paige Alms (HAW) 12,500 points
2. Justine Dupont (FRA) 10,416 points
3. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 8,680 points
4. Emily Erickson (HAW) 6,029 points
4. Keala Kennelly (HAW) 6,029 points
4. Laura Enever (AUS) 6,029 points