Grant Baker 

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker rode what he says was the biggest wave he has ever ridden in Cape Town on Saturday when he and fellow Billabong team rider Greg Long towed each other into waves estimated to be over 70 foot (22 metres) in height.

The 35 year-old from Umhlanga, near Durban, and Long, 25, from San Clemente, California, started the day towing into waves at Dungeons, the notorious open ocean reef outside Hout Bay where Baker won the 10th anniversary edition of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa paddle-in event two weeks ago.

After three hours of epic rides and as the low tide approached the duo rode their Honda personal watercraft (PWC) out to the indicator reef known a Tafelberg, a kilometre outside of Dungeons, where the huge waves usually just peak and crumble as the reef is eight metres below the surface.

However, the 16 second swell period and Southerly direction of the massive swell on Saturday, combined with the low tide and glassy conditions, was creating enormous waves that were breaking top to bottom in an awesome display of ocean power.

“The waves were definitely the biggest I’ve ever seen in South Africa and possibly the biggest anywhere,” Baker said. “Greg towed me into one giant wave that was so big I was terrified and started hyper-ventilating.”

“Later, when we saw the photos taken by Craig Kolesky with a large lens from Chapman’s Peak, we realised that those were possibly the biggest waves ever recorded, on a par with the rides we had a Cortes Bank in January which were measured at well over 70 feet.”

Baker and Long, along with the team of Mike Parsons and Brad Gerlach, challenged the seamount known as the Cortes Bank, 160 Kms off the coast of California, in an epic adventure into what have been described as the biggest waves ever seen and surfed.

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Tiago Pires 

The second day of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro witnessed some tough action today with Heats 1 to 20 of Round 2 being completed in messy solid four to six foot (1.2 to 2 meter) waves at Lacanau. The challenging conditions made it hard for competitors to post big scores but fourty men still managed to secure a ticket for Round 3 and join the event top seeds starting tomorrow.

From recent event winner Wiggoly Dantas (BRA) to favorite and ASP World Tour member Tiago Pires (PRT), including Sam Page (AUS) and former Dream Tour surfer Jarrad Howse (AUS), most of today’s big names were able to get away with at least a second place in their respective battles, enough to make it through to the next encounters.

Tiago Pires (PRT), 26, a rookie on this year’s ASP World Tour, was much awaited for his start in the Lacanau Pro and paddled out in Heat 3 to try and get the pressure off him. Pires, who just came back from Indonesia where he placed equal 3rd, was in good form and ended up winning the 4-man battle with solid surfing.

"It was so hard out there, I am glad to get away with a win", Pires said. "The current and the waves were really tricky and it was a struggle to remain in position and find some good enough rides."

Pires, who is currently rated No. 27 on the ASP World Tour, will face Californian and ASP WQS Top 10 member Brett Simpson (USA) in Round 3 for an expected exciting heat. 

Wiggoly Dantas (BRA), 18, who won the ASP WQS 5-Star in England last Sunday, came  close to an elimination  in the opening heat of the day but managed to catch a last-minute ride and advance through to Round 3, remaining in contention for a possible second consecutive event victory.

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Oxbow Australian Longboard Titles

As the largest surfing event in Australian history draws closer by the day, anticipation continues to rise in the lead-up to the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival.

With 23 Australian titles to be awarded in 21 divisions, and the best surfers across the nation ready to converge upon the wave-rich Port Macquarie region, the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival is set to begin this weekend.

The  will kick-off the Festival with a bang - featuring a simmering selection of world-class talent.

Running as a part of the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival, the Oxbow Australian Longboard Titles will see the best longboard riders from across the nation converging upon Port Macquarie.

Former World Champion (2006) and three-time Australian Champion, Josh Constable (Noosa, QLD) is one such competitor ready to do battle this weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to Port Macquarie,” Constable said after finishing runner-up last year to Harley Ingelby (Emerald Beach, NSW).

“It’s going to be such a good event as all the top competitors from Australia will looking to take the prestigious Australian crown.”

“Australian’s are currently dominating international longboarding, so the competition will be of a world-class standard,” he added.

Having won a number of titles this year, including the prestigious Open’s division at the Noosa Festival of Surfing and currently placed 17th on the ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) rankings, Constable is definitely looking for a strong campaign at the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival.

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