Big-Wave Surfing's 5 Most Pivotal Moments of the Decade

The twenty-tens. Are you able to consider they’re over?

From the tragic loss of life of Andy Irons, the start of the WSL, the Brazilian storm, the wavepool revolution, and so much more, the previous 10 years had been full of unforgettable moments and historic significance. However, at this level, it nonetheless feels too early to outline it. Was there any clear theme or route? Or did the surf world transfer in 100 instructions unexpectedly? That’s onerous to say right this moment. Perhaps later.

That stated, there have been many particular person standout moments that we received’t quickly neglect. So, in the curiosity of defining them, we requested 4 specialists for his or her opinion on what the most essential moments of the decade had been, in 4 totally different areas: big-wave browsing, aerial browsing, girls’s browsing and longboarding.

First up is three-time Massive Wave World Champ, and 7-time XXL winner, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, who gave us his insights on which waves–and which days—helped outline the decade.

The 10’s began with a big-wave bang, in the kind of the Mavericks Surf Contest, which ran in mid-February of 2010. Ultimately received by Chris Bertish, the occasion was a giant leap ahead in the paddle revolution. “The Mavs event in 2010 was the first big-wave event in waves pushing the 60-foot mark, and it left the surfing world reeling at what was possible for the future,” Twiggy tells us. “It gave us a glimpse of what could happen when a big-wave event and giant waves came together, and it forced surfers to push their limits.”

That day Twiggy, together with Greg Lengthy, Carlos Burle, Shane Dorian, Shawn Greenback and occasion winner Bertish would re-write the guide of big-wave paddle browsing. (It’s additionally the day Shane Dorian copped a two-wave maintain down and almost drowned, inspiring the invention of the inflatable vests worn by each big-wave surfer right this moment.) Twig continues: “Looking back, that really was a monumental event, and it set the tone for the rest of the decade.”


“I remember January 4, 2012 well,” says Twiggy. “It was the swell everyone had been waiting for to paddle out at Jaws. Led by Shane Dorian, [Dave] Wassel, Ian Walsh, Kohl Christensen, Marcio Freire, Danilo Couto, Yuri Soledade, Carlos Burle and Nate Fletcher, the crew redefined what was possible as far as paddling into the world’s most perfect big wave.”

In years prior, a swell like the one in January of 2012 would have been buzzing with skis at Jaws. Not this time. It was the day and swell the big-wave paddle contingent had been ready years for. “That one day sent the sport catapulting forward in one giant stride,” Twiggy continues. “It opened the door for every big swell since.”


Love him or hate him, Garrett McNamara put Portugal’s Naźare on the mainstream map. McNamara’s tow bomb at Naźare in November of 2011 captured the world’s consideration and was featured on each information outlet from CNN to Good Morning America. However, in response to Twiggy, two of the final decade’s most impactful moments in massive wave browsing truly occurred off Portugal’s coast.

“The first was McNamara’s 78-foot wave in 2011, which introduced the world to the fact that the biggest rideable waves in the world are in Europe,” says Twiggy. “And the second was in November of 2017, when Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa broke the previous big-wave record, surfing an 80-foot wave at Naźare. But, more important than those two waves individually, a core group of remarkable surfers have dedicated their lives this last decade to riding the biggest, most dangerous wave in the world off Portugal’s coast.”


In 2012, throughout the ready interval for the Volcom Fiji Professional, Cloudbreak delivered one of browsing’s most historic days. And whereas surf followers hoped to see the world’s greatest ‘CT surfers compete in truly massive surf, it wasn’t to be, and after a number of heats in harmful, rising surf (and a severe damage to Raioni Monteiro’s knee), the WSL known as the comp off.

Happily, they saved the cameras rolling, reside streaming (arguably) the greatest session of the previous 10 years. “Just like that, Cloudbreak, a wave that had been off-limits to the surfing public since its discovery in the early ’80s, revealed herself as an incredibly frightening, beautiful spectacle,” Twiggy says about that day. “That one session showed what was possible as far as getting barreled in 20-foot surf.”


“In November 2018, Mark Healey, Billy Kemper, Russell Bierke, Alex Botelho, Ryan Hipwood and I were sent out to compete against each other [at Jaws] in waves like I’d never tried to catch before, or since, for that matter,” laughs Twiggy. “Ten wave 60-foot sets were pouring through the lineup, with 20-knot offshore winds making them almost impossible to catch. But, just as it did at Mavs back in 2010, competition in waves like that forced our hands, and the rest is history.”

After all, the occasion itself was controversial. After that first warmth, with waves getting bigger by the set, Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons deemed the day unsafe, and known as competitors off. “Even though Billy Kemper was actually knocked unconscious, and I was sent to the medical boat with burst lung capillaries, Billy was bummed,” continues Twiggy. “After the decision, he said something like: ‘It is gnarly, it is dangerous, but this is what we live and train for. You want the biggest, nutsest wave in the world? This is it.’”

In line with Twiggy, that day was only a fleeting take a look at what’s to return. Subsequent time, the greatest big-wave surfers in the world will all be prepared. “The future is waiting,” Twiggy continues. “That heat was just a taste. Nothing is too big or too dangerous anymore. I’m confident the next generation will take things to the next level, and I’m just stoked to be along for the ride.”

This text initially appeared on and was republished with permission.

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