The awards-ceremony considered to be the Academy Awards of Surfing, the the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, was held at a glittering event in California last week and a South African won two categories.

Durbanite Grant “Twiggy” Baker received the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave award for a riding a wave that was measured at 20 metres (61 foot) at Tafelberg Reef, near Hout Bay in Cape Town, in August last year. He also collected the Surfline Best Overall Performance award for his dedication in pursuing huge surf and competing in big wave events all over the world during the past 12 months.

He was also nominated for the Monster Paddle award and his tow partner, Greg Long from California, who had towed Baker into the wave at Tafelberg, won the premier Billabong XXL Ride of the Year award and a cash prize of US$50 000 (approximately R450 000) for his incredible tube ride on a 10 metre wave at nearby Dungeons during the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event in July 2008.

Baker received $15 000 (approximately R140 000), a Honda Aquatrax personal watercraft and an HSA sled for his XXL Biggest Wave. He also earned a further $5 000 for the Overall Performance award.

Cape Town-based photographers Alan van Gysen and Brenton Geach, and video company Fixerfilm/Hutchmotion, shared $4 000 for providing the images which determined the XXL Biggest Wave winner. Fixerfilm/Red Bull BWA scooped up the $5 000 for their video footage of Long’s Ride of the Year.