Grant Twiggy Baker .Durban’s unsung hero.

16 April 2024, Tuesday

Durban’s Grant Twiggy Baker  has done it again – claiming the 2016/17 World Surfing League BIG WAVE title.  World Champion  for the second time .






Last year I had the opportunity to meet and chat with one of Durban’s unsung heroes.

He may not have the fame of local rugby and cricket stars, but chat to anyone who knows surfing, and he’ll be described with hushed respect.

Grant ‘Twiggy ‘ Baker is no ordinary guy. He’s a hunter, an extreme big-wave hunter. He surfs waves that weigh a few tons, reach three storeys high, blow eardrums, wipe out towns, crack ribs and sometimes even take lives.

Why does he do it?

He loves it.

It’s the challenge to win against the odds of nature – in surfing’s most extreme discipline.

In surfing, coming to terms with death – or at least the possibility – is an ongoing crisis in big waves. The set is building outside, and it’s so beautiful, aesthetically. People are watching in awe from the beach: the blue water, the stiff offshore winds, the 40-foot walls charging in from the open ocean. If you’re out there with nothing but your body, your wits and a surfboard – that set can easily be your coffin.’ – Bruce Jenkins

AAA TWIG39805513_max It takes something special to put your life on the line every time the big swells roll in at the world’s famous big-wave breaks. Take Portugal’s storm driven Nazare Challenge as an extreme example . You need to be ultimately prepared. Apart from unwavering commitment, Baker’s secret weapon in his preparation is what he describes as his ‘free diving training programme’.




It’s a hectic training programme – it normally leaves me lying on the side of the pool for a very long time. But it also provides me with the confidence to be underwater when things go wrong and to know my limits. You aren’t normally under for longer than 45 seconds to a minute, but you learn to calm down and trust in your own ability. I have worked my way up to breath holds of five minutes, which really helps in the long run – Twiggy Baker

He exudes Faith, Confidence and Belief : and FCB is a potent champion’s cocktail .

What sets this 43 year old 2016 /17 world champion apart, is that it’s not all about competing and winning.

I look at every session as a learning curve and a stepping stone to the next level of performance, and I guess life is just like that. Listen, look and learn, because you’re never as good as you think you are.’

Twiggy Baker is an ocean warrior, a world class waterman , a great champion in a sport that throws out massive life challenges –and is always coming up short on sponsorship .

After losing his  Billabong sponsorship in 2013 ,Grant Twiggy Baker knows all about turning adversity to advantage .

It’s not all about surfing – to give back is more important at this time of my life: Twiggy Baker

AAA TWIG 39806154_maxAsked about his plans are for the future, Baker with an attitude of gratitude, replied





I’m going to compete for as long as they will have me in the events. I’m feeling fit and healthy and I enjoy the experience of competing occasionally – getting to surf waves like Mavericks and Jaws with only six guys in the water – is a blessing.


Grant Twiggy Baker – we salute you as our latest World Champion  – in and out of the water .



Grant Twiggy Baker features in my first book published in 2013: THE GAME PLAN . At the time of writing the book in 2013/14 , Twiggy had just lost his BILLABONG  sponsorship , but he bounced back and went on to claim two World Titles. That says it all about the man.

If you would like a FREE eCOPY of my book –  please email as below .

Rob Opie is a Brand Expert, Author, Speaker, and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.


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