Big Wave World Tour coming to Dungeons, South Africa

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker about to tame the beast, Dungeons, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Kimi Stewar Billabong XXL

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker about to tame the beast, Dungeons, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Kimi Stewar Billabong XXL

Words by Gero Lilleike

It’s on!!! The time to whip out the ‘Big Guns’ is looming on the horizon as the monster that is Dungeons is set to come alive for the 2014/15 Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) following the announcement of the official tour schedule by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).

The BWWT will see the world’s finest big wave surfers tackle surf no smaller than 25ft and South Africans will witness the full power of Dungeons bearing down on their heads, so yes, there is definitely reason to be excited.

The BWWT is split into a two-part schedule, with generous window periods for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the gnarliest big wave spots in the mix. The 2014/15 BWWT schedule is as follows:

Southern Hemisphere (April 15, 2014 through August 31, 2014):
• Punta de Lobos, Chile
• Pico Alto, Peru
• Dungeons, South Africa

Northern Hemisphere (October 15, 2014 to February 28, 2015):
• Todos Santos, Mexico
• Punta Galea, Basque Country Spain
• Pe’ahi (Jaws), Maui HI

Dungeons and Pe’ahi (Jaws) are new events to the tour and will hopefully add some big wave flavor to what looks to be a tasty treat for the contestants and big wave spectators around the world. Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, the current BWWT leader,  will no doubt be chuffed to surf in his home waters and put on a show of a lifetime in front of a home crowd. All we need now is for ‘The Kraken’ to emerge from the depths of the Atlantic and kick up some serious swell when the times comes. For now, all we can do is wait…BRING IT ON!!!

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Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker cooks a big win at 2014 Mavericks Invitational

 

Grant 'Twiggy' Baker rides a big one. Photo: Grant Ellis

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker rides a big one. Photo: Grant Ellis

Words by Gero Lilleike

If there is any reason at all to feel like a proud South African then today is surely the day and Twiggy is the reason. To most South Africans, the name Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is like any other but within the loins of the surf community, that name means business, serious business, and with good reason, the man is as tough as nails and has the heart of a lion beating in his chest. On Friday, Twiggy cleaned the pipes of 23 of the world’s top big wave surfers at the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational held in perfect 40ft surf at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, California.

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker tops Big Wave World Tour standings

That’s a huge achievement for South Africa and South African surfing right there. Twiggy scored two amazing 10-point rides during the event to score an overall 29.33 out of 30, which is a phenomenal performance considering that Shane Dorian, who placed second, came in with a score of 25.53 out of 30. Twiggy clearly dominated the lineup and put his best foot forward to claim his second Mavericks crown and his second consecutive win on the Big Wave World Tour after conquering the Arnette Punta Galea Challenge in Spain this past December. The result puts Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker right on top of the Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) standings.

Twiggy had the following to say shortly after the event, “I’m feeling pretty good – amazing in fact! Two of my favourite surfers in the world, Shane Dorian and Greg Long, were in the final so to win Mavericks is the greatest feeling in the world!”.

Twiggy wasn’t the only South African representing on the day. Fellow big wave chargers Chris Bertish (2010 Mavericks Champ) and Frank Solomon (Alternate Competitor) were also there to celebrate the big win.

 

Chris Bertish, Grant Twiggy Baker and Frank Solomon celebrate in the channel. Photo: ZigZag

Chris Bertish, Grant Twiggy Baker and Frank Solomon celebrate in the channel. Photo: ZigZag

A massive 40ft congrats goes out to Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker for bringing this big win home. Damn it feels good to be South African today. A few parting words from Twiggy sums up the feeling perfectly, “I’d like to thank everyone in South Africa for their support. This is it, we are the best.”

If you wish to follow the Big Wave World Tour then visit bigwaveworldtour.com

Things to do in Cape Town

Cape Town glistens in the morning light.  Photo: Gero Lilleike

Cape Town glistens in the morning light. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Words and Photographs by Gero Lilleike

There’s no excuse for being bored in Cape Town and if you are, you’re either lazy, or poor. Great things lie beyond your doorstep, but don’t forget your wallet on your way out. Everyone is different and there’s lots to do if you are open to the experience, Cape Town has something for everyone. I decided to step-out and discover what Cape Town has to offer and this is what I found. Here are six things to consider doing when visiting the Mother City.

Go Surf

Cape Town offers countless surf spots to satisfy your surfing needs, whether you’re an advanced surfer or a beginner, it doesn’t matter, there’s a wave for every kind of surfer. Surfing in Muizenberg is probably your best bet if you are new to surfing and there are numerous surf shops and places to rent surfboards. The wave at Muizenberg is also very forgiving but you will have to contend with crowds, especially on weekends. If you are an intermediate or advanced surfer you may want to take a drive to Kommetjie or Noordhoek for a more exciting ride or explore less crowded spots along the coast, the choice is yours. Surfing is a great option if you are keen for a bit of adventure and the best part of it is that it’s a relatively cheap activity that won’t leave a dent in your wallet.

Gero Lilleike surfing in Muizenberg. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Gero Lilleike surfing in Muizenberg. Photo: Gero Lilleike


Climb Table Mountain

You can’t say that you’ve experienced Cape Town until you have scaled Table Mountain, so why not do it? If hiking is up your alley then this is a great way to conquer Table Mountain but be sure to do your research beforehand and pay attention to the weather as conditions can change in the blink of an eye. If you are looking for the easy way up, then the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is at your service. Once at the top, Table Mountain will provide breathtaking views of the whole city and will probably leave a lump in your throat. Either way, Table Mountain is there to be conquered and you should seriously consider it.

 

Table Mountain in all its glory. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Table Mountain in all its glory. Photo: Gero Lilleike


Visit the V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike and offers a plethora of activities for the whole family, from food, shopping, boat trips and daily entertainment, there’s always something to do here. The V&A Waterfront is also home to the Two Oceans Aquarium which allows you to get up close and personal with the wonders of the ocean and should be high on your priority list when you make your visit. There are various boat rides available to you and they provide a unique perspective on Cape Town. My personal suggestion is to book a ride on the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship which makes for a fun boat trip out to sea, especially if you have children.

The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship at the V&A Waterfront. Photo: Gero Lilleike

The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship at the V&A Waterfront. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Drive Chapman’s Peak

If you are keen for some spectacular Cape scenery, then all you have to do is get in your car and take a drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive, you won’t be disappointed. There are many spots along the way where you can stop and soak in the scenery, just be sure to have your camera ready to snap all the special moments. Chapman’s Peak offers awesome views of Hout Bay and Noordhoek Beach, but remember this is a toll road so there is a fee to use this section of road. If you don’t want to drive then feel free to use your legs and walk or you can tackle the hills with your bicycle. Chapman’s Peak is definitely a must-do activity if you are in Cape Town so be sure to check it out.

Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Walk Cape Point

If you are in Cape Town, do yourself a favor and visit Cape Point. Cape Point forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and offers great walks with stunning scenery to keep you company. Cape Point is the most south-western point of the African continent and was named the ‘Cape of Storms’ by Bartolomeu Dias who navigated it in 1488. Be sure to make your way up to the lighthouse which was erected in 1859 and stands some 249m above sea-level. A second, more effective lighthouse was erected in 1914 and stands only 87m above sea level and is the most powerful lighthouse on the South African coastline. There are many viewpoints which offer stomach-churning views of the cliffs and ocean below, so tread carefully here.

Cape Point, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Cape Point, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Have a beer in Kalk Bay

Apart from offering an arty shopping experience, Kalk Bay also offers superb dining options overlooking Kalk Bay Harbour and False Bay, the perfect place to kick back and relax. As an avid beer drinker and lover of seafood, I recommend you pay a visit to the Brass Bell which serves delicious seafood meals and has enough beer to quench the biggest beer thirst. To make the deal that much better, you have the ocean by your side and if you’re lucky enough you may even spot a whale or two breaching offshore. Kalk Bay also offers a pretty good wave when conditions are right so you might want to keep your surfboard handy in case the ocean plays it’s part, but remember, don’t surf if you have beer in your belly.

The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Stencilworx debuts at Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio opening in Muizenberg

Steve Erwin strikes a pose. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Steve Erwin strikes a pose. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Words and Photo’s by Gero Lilleike

I have been following the work of Steve Erwin (Stencilworx) for some time now and for good reason, he’s a talented artist with creativity and passion that’s expressed through his art time and again and it’s no surprise, this man is going places. As it turns out, there’s a new ink parlour in town and for the first time ever, Stencilworx was in the public eye at the official opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town.

Tattoo enthusiasts, artists and the general public turned up to soak up the art and music which set the scene for an enjoyable evening. Steve was one of many artists who had their art on display as part of the art exhibition which also featured a live spray painting session and an entertaining burlesque show.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the event, I managed to have a few words with Steve who was visibly chuffed to have his work on display for the first time and here’s what he had to say, “I am stoked to have my first art piece up on display at an exhibition, I hope people like it. It’s a stencil and spray paint piece on a skateboard deck that I have loosely dubbed ‘Heaven, Hell and everything in between”.

Steve's Art (Left) on display at the opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg. Photo: Gero Lilleike

Steve’ Erwin’s art (Left) on display at the opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Photo: Gero Lilleike

“I was a bit nervous to put my work on display at first but now I am relaxed about it and am just enjoying the evening. I also want to thank Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio for allowing me to display my work, I think it’s a great opportunity”. Steve’s piece effectively displayed how stencils and spray paint can be used to create unique artwork that is impossible to replicate.

If you wish to familiarise yourself with Steve and his work, I suggest you read The Steve Erwin Interview – The Wave Hunter and Something’s in the Water

An artist sprays in a live spray paint session at the opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg. Photo: Gero Lilleike

An artist sprays in a live spray paint session at the opening of the Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Photo: Gero Lilleike

 

2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards

The winners of the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, sponsored by Monster Energy, were announced yesterday in Anaheim, California. The categories for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards include the Monster Tube Award, Monster Paddle In Award, XXL Biggest Wave Award, Verizon Wipeout of the Year Award, Surfline Mens Performance Award, Billabong Girls Performance Award and the ultimate Ride of the Year Award.

Garret McNamara, Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel and Maya Gabeira have dominated the Billabong XXL Global Big Waves Awards. The winner in each category are as follows.

XXL Biggest Wave Award

Garret McNamara – Praia do Norte, Portugal

2012 Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award – Garret McNamara – Praia do Norte, Portugal. Photo: Wilson Riberio


Ride of the Year Award

Nathan Fletcher – Teahupoo, Tahiti

 

Monster Tube Award

Nathan Fletcher – Teahupoo, Tahiti

Nathan Fletcher, Billabong XXL Biggest Tube Award-Teahupoo, Tahiti. Photo: Brian Bielmann

 

 

Monster Paddle In Award

Dave Wassel – Jaws / Peahi, Maui

Dave Wassel, Billabong XXL Paddle In Award, Jaws, Peahi, Maui Photo: Frank Berthuot

 

Verizon Wipeout of the Year Award

Garret McNamara – Jaws, Peahi, Maui

Surfline Mens Performance Award

Nathan Fletcher – San Clemente, CA

Billabong Girls Performance Award

Maya Gabeira – Teahupoo, Tahiti

The Soft Side of Teahupoo

Words by: Gero Lilleike

Photographs:  Tim McKenna

You don’t need to be a photographer or even have any knowledge of the art to appreciate the power of an image, all that is needed are open eyes and an open mind. Whilst perusing one of my favorite website’s, www.clubofthewaves.com , I happened to come across some amazing images that I found quite fascinating, mainly due to the fact that I’ve never really seen or heard of the ’tilt-shift technique’ in photography before.

That said, the results the technique yielded in these particular shots are something to marvel at. What I love about these shots is the level of  deception the photographer, Tim McKenna, has achieved.  This achievment is largely attributed to the fact that the deception lies in the contradiction.   The photographs were taken at  Teahupoo in Tahiti, one of the world’s heaviest and death-defying waves, however, the photographs depict a miniature scene which can be perceived to be completely harmless and even playful at times but for the surfers who ride these waves, the reality is far more terrifying. Amazing photographs.

 

If you are interested in surfing, surf culture, surf art and surf photography then www.clubofthewaves.com is a cool site to visit. If you want to view the original article, click here.

Jordy Smith clenches Billabong Pro in J-Bay

Photo’s and words by Gero Lilleike

Let’s forget about wasting drumrolls for Kelly Slater, it’s just not worth it. It’s a good thing King Kelly never showed up at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay because Jordy Smith was destined to remain champion and would have put Kelly Slater over his knee for a good old hiding.

In the final day of the contest, Jordy Smith came up against Mick Fanning in the final in less than ideal conditions in what was a closely contested heat, with Jordy taking the win. The previous day saw J-Bay lighting up with some solid swell and a full day of magnificent surfing from all the competitors. Standout performances included Jordy Smith eliminating Bede Durbidge with some insane manoeuvres. Julian Wilson also ripped into an incredible 10 point tube ride that was quite possibly the wave of the contest.

The atmoshere and vibe on the beach was equally entertaining and watching the pros at work was really amazing. Congratulations to Jordy Smith on his second win at J-Bay and to the rest of us South Africans, we can be proud.

Billabong Pro J-Bay Kick Off

Words by Gero Lilleike

Photo: ASP World Tour

Somewhere in the world, a champion is tearing into some epi-stellar waves, not to mention Kelly Slater in Fiji, but here in South Africa, our very own champion, Jordy Smith, has started his assault at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay, offloading a well deserved 16.87 points in the first heat of the contest. 

King Jordy

It seems that the Supertubes machine hasn’t quite turned on yet but the 3-4 foot surf gave Jordy Smith plenty to work with. Click here to watch Jordy showing Kelly who the real king is. Now all we need is for King Kelly to get to J-Bay and hand over his crown. Drumroll… 

Live News from Leatherfoot to follow later in the week, for now, keep up to date with the latest action at www.billabongpro.com . Aloha.

Slaughter on the Salt River

This story was published in the CXpress on Wednesday 29 June 2011. Author: Peter Clyro

FIVE hikers – who wish to remain anonymous – were walking along Salt River in The Crags, east of Plett, when stumbling upon five poachers butchering a bush pig.

Upon sighting the hikers, the poachers made a hasty escape into the forest towards Kurland Village, leaving a substantial part of the carcass floating in the water. Local police officers were immediately informed but at the time of writing it was unclear whether the poachers had been apprehended. The scene described by the hikers is a gruesome one. “The carcass was in the river and the pig skin was hanging in a tree. The rocks were covered with blood and we found the guts lying in the bush. We also found the bush pig’s head floating in a pool nearby – it was really terrible.” They managed to dismantle and partially destroy a trap set up by the poachers. Poaching in The Crags is a common occurrence and with poverty-related social challenges rife in Kurland Village and surrounds, long-term municipal and conservation intervention is needed to curb the on-going poaching of the area’s wildlife. Nature conservation bodies such as the Southern Crags, Redford Road and Natures Valley conservancies are working relentlessly to prevent this practice, e.g. by regular anti-poaching patrols.

Nick van Tonder, an intern conservation student based at Ingwe Forest Adventures, is actively involved in conducting snare sweeps in the Southern Crags Conservancy (SCC) area – part of a snare removal programme in The Crags. “Snares have been an on-going problem with not only our wildlife being caught, but also occasionally domestic animals. The proliferation of snaring incidents at identified hot spotspoints to an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. “We seek to break this cycle by processes that involve property snare patrols as well as community-based education,” says Van Tonder. Volunteering is a key component in nature conservation and organisations such as Willing Workers in SA(WWISA), the Orca Foundation and Ingwe Forest Adventures offer nature loving volunteers the opportunity to assist in conserving nature and making a difference. For more info on these volunteer programmes, contact WWISA on 044 534 8958, Orca on 044 533 5083 or Ingwe on 083 442 6115.

Pygmy Sperm Whale stranded on Keurbooms Beach

On Friday 10 June 2011, a 2.97 m male Pygmy Sperm Whale washed ashore on Keurbooms beach in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The Pygmy Sperm Whale is one of three species of toothed whales in the sperm whale family. They are a pelagic species, which means they are found in open, deep water. Even though they are deep water mammals, they are very rarely seen out at sea. The weight of this particular specimen was not determined but fully grown adults can weigh up to 400 kg.

Their primary food includes squid and crabs and they have between 20-30 teeth. Not much is known about their breeding habits and their population numbers remain unknown. Pygmy Sperm Whales are mainly found in the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

The cause of death of this particular Pygmy Sperm Whale remains unknown. The Orca Foundation along with Port Elizabeth Bay World and Cape Nature performed a dissection on 14 June 2011 to determine the cause of death. Blubber samples were taken along with an analysis of its body and organs. Upon analysis, many parasites were found underneath the blubber however the parasites do not affect the health of the whale. The whale was bleeding internally and decay made it difficult to determine the exact cause of death. No shark wounds were found on the Pygmy Sperm Whale, however, abrasions, possibly from rocks, were found on the specimen. In 2010, four Pygmy Sperm Whales, of the same species, stranded on Robberg beach. Although Pygmy Sperm Whales are a rare sight, strandings are a common occurrence around the world.

 

If a stranded animal is found whether it be a bird, fish, dolphin or whale, dead or alive, please call the Orca Foundation on 082 782 4459 so that the animal can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. For more information visit the Orca Foundation website at www.orcafoundation.co.za

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