California - Billabong team rider Grant 'Twiggy' Baker from Durban, South Africa, won the Ride of the Year, the premier category in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards presented by Monster Energy, at a glittering function attended by 2 250 people in Anaheim, California Friday night.
Baker, 36, pocketed $50 000 for his incredible ride on an enormous wave that he paddled into during the Mavericks Surf Contest at Half Moon Bay in California on February 13.
"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.
"I'd like to thank all my sponsors, particularly Billabong and my aunt Cheron (Kraak) back in Jeffreys Bay. 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.