At this point, even regular surfers are going a bit stir-crazy, being relegated to their homebreaks if they’re surfing at all. So you can only imagine how cuckoo big-wave surfers must be feeling right now, as their programs are dictated by extensive travel to a handful of big-wave locations around the world.

But not Grant “Twiggy” Baker. The South African has accomplished just about everything a big-wave pro can accomplish in his forty-something years of life on this planet, including the world championship. And he’s actually relishing the opportunity to tone down his regular death-defying routine in favor of something different, albeit well within the confines of his homeland.

Surfline hit up Twiggy to hear about his latest score.

Photo: Mika Hatting

Surfline: What have you been up to since the lockdown?

Grant “Twiggy” Baker: Not having the option to travel and being able to focus on home and family the past few months has been pretty cool for me — a refreshing change to the constant should-I-stay-or-should-I-go lifestyle. Unfortunately my other businesses (bar/surfboard/rental) have taken a knock, so I’ve been spending most of my time working to try and keep those alive.

When did South African authorities start allowing surfing?

It’s been a gray area since the first three weeks of hard lockdown (March 15th-April 7th), when government said we could go out and exercise within 5km of our homes. The beaches remained closed, and still are, but the authorities slowly allowed us more freedom to surf. At first it was hidden back beaches, then slowly it was more and more until this week they opened up some of the Durban city beaches.

What made you pull the trigger on this strike?

The waves have been absolutely pumping since April on the East Coast of South Africa with amazing sand, clean warm water, and constant morning offshores. I got some inside information on a crazy bank that had formed at the one rivermouth down the South Coast of Durban. So Zoog and I waited for the right day and took the ski down to check it out.

How fickle is that wave?

It’s pretty fickle, often not more than a glorified closeout. I’ve seen it good on occasion over the years, but never like this. The swell was messy and low-period with an incredibly strong side current. But it was solid with howling offshores, which straightened things up nicely. A perfect day for the ski. When conditions cleaned up the day before this and the day after this, we were surfing another bank down there. But I’m not sharing those sessions until after the season [laughs].

What’s the most challenging thing about scoring this place?

It was tough to find the good sections along the bank, and many of the waves closed out. Plus, it’s sardine season down here so it’s literally crawling with sharks. But sharing waves with a friend, watching each other’s barrels with no one else around, while my wife Kate films on the beach and Billi pays in the sand…That’s always a good time.

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