Grant "Twiggy" Baker rides a giant wave in S.Africa
Five years of careful planning and patient waiting for perfect conditions paid off for Durban-born big wave surfer Grant "Twiggy" Baker when he successfully rode a 70-foot wave at an until-now-unsurfed Cape Town reef on Saturday.
Baker, the winner of 2008's Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest held at Dungeons Reef in Hout Bay late in July, took his wild ride at a reef about 2km further out to sea from Dungeons.
It is one of the biggest waves - if not the biggest - ever ridden off the African continent.
He told the Cape Times on Sunday that the mammoth wave was "definitely the biggest I've ever ridden in South Africa" and ranked alongside the biggest waves he'd tackled at several American breaks, including the famous Cortes Banks.
Baker said he and fellow big wave surfer, Greg Long, had been studying Tafelberg Reef for five years and had been waiting for perfect conditions: "a massive swell, no wind, low tide".
Long used a jetski to tow Baker into the giant set on Saturday afternoon, after the pair had already spent four hours surfing nearby Dungeons.
When he kicked into the wave, Baker said: "My adrenaline was pumping, I was hyperventilating.
"It was terrifying."
He said the wave had measured between 65 and 70 feet - the sort of size that is "very scary even for (big wave surfers)".
Baker rode the wave "in a straight line for 400m".
Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest director Gary Linden, who watched Baker's feat from a jetski, said the wave had been "beyond 60 feet for sure".
He said the biggest wave ridden by a contestant at this year's Big Wave Africa contest had been between 50 and 55 feet.
Baker plans to return to Tafelberg Reef.
"I think that wave can get bigger. We'll keep watching."