Grant Baker surfs huge wave at Dungeons 

An El Niño condition may be brewing, but in the Southern Hemisphere there is no more waiting as extraordinary storms have been a regular occurrence over the last several weeks, generating some of the most intense surf seen in years.  Most recently, one of the biggest and best swells to ever hit South Africa arrived last Sunday, producing more eye-popping entries into the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards fueled by Monster Energy.  Those latest photographs may be viewed on the BillabongXXL.com website.

This was the third significant swell to strike the region in ten days, sparking a series of key sessions at the spooky big wave break of Dungeons, off of Cape Town.  A warm-up swell hit the region on August 6, followed by a huge and windy episode on August 11 which saw some massive tow-in waves worthy of the XXL Biggest Wave category.  And on August 16 yet another enormous swell arrived, but this time with pristine sunny weather and light offshore winds -- every surfer's ideal scenario.

According to Surfline forecaster Ken Wallis, "A large complex low pressure system was spinning in the South Atlantic this past week, occupying most of the ocean between South Africa and Argentina. As a result of this consistent storm activity, a series of XXL size southwest swells have been slamming the West Coast of South Africa and, more specifically, the big wave break Dungeons.

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Tim Boal 

Some excellent surf in the three-foot (one meter) range made the second day of the ASP WQS 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro an exciting show of progressive surfing, the good quality sand bank delivering fun launching ramps for today’s competitors. With Round 1 coming to an end and the first couple of heats of Round 2 being completed by day’s end, it was a day of high performance surfing with reigning ASP World Junior Champion Kai Barger (Maui, HAW), 19, dominating proceedings.

Barger, who won his maiden ASP World Junior title last January in Australia, showed he was more than ready to compete against the world’s best surfers, the Maui resident posting an impressive 17.64 point heat score including a near perfect 9.27 point ride.

“It was a pretty tricky heat and I wasn’t confident when it started,” Barger said. “Then I got a first wave that was good enough, the second was better and the third even better so I had a lot of fun in the end. I got a bit lucky to get the first one and I was super stoked wave after wave so I just tried to stay out of trouble and any interference.”

Barger, who has been awarded a wildcard by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) to start in Round 2 of every major ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events this year thanks to his world crown, was surfing his first heat at Lacanau today and came up with fantastic surfing.

“I was really nervous and I thought I was going to lose actually,” Barger said. “It’s great to have that opportunity to enter the events along with the top seeds and it gives me a year of practice amongst the WQS. With the points I will have at the end of this year I will be able to do the whole tour next year. I haven’t had any good results, actually haven’t made it past Round 3 at any of the big events so far.”

Barger’s performance left all his peers amazed and cheering the Hawaiian on every of his flying maneuvers, taking off in perfect new-school skateboarding-like style to land several air-reverse maneuvers. Following the final heat of Round 1, where Barger and Thiago Camarao (BRA) offered the best show of the thus far, was event top seed Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 25, the Frenchman opening Round 2 of competition.

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Clay Marzo claims the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Puerto Escondido 

Clay Marzo (Maui, HI), 19, claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 3-Star Quiksilver Pro Puerto Escondido in impressive fashion today when he put fellow finalists Junior Faria (BRA), 22, Angelo Lozano (Puerto Escondido, MEX), 22, and Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), 19, in a combination situation to take out his first ASP WQS victory.

Although the finalists faced inconsistent conditions at Puerto Escondido, Marzo managed to capitalize on the two best waves and displayed a mind-blowing combination of barrel-riding, progressive tail-drifting turns and reverses to take out the victory.

“I was a little worried because it was a little mixed up out there,” Marzo said. “I got that first score and was able to relax enough to get the other one.”

The talented goofy-footer’s posted an opening score of a solid 8.25 before closing the doors on his competitors when he logged a massive 9.25 (both out of a possible 10) for a committing reverse.

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