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Nixed from Maverick’s wild waves? Baker banned!

Princeton-by-the-Sea, California

Big-wave surfers worldwide were stunned this week with the word that South African surfer, Grant “Twiggy” Baker (the most accomplished surfer at Mavericks), has been BANNED from this year’s competition! According to

Organizers issued a statement saying Baker would be banned for one year, rather than for life. While the statement offered no definitive explanation, speculation centers on the ongoing discord between the Titans of Mavericks, as the contest is called, and the World Surf League <WSL>, which runs the professional tour and holds a separate big-wave tour.

The WSL has tried for years to enlist Mavericks on its tour, which also includes events in Chile, Peru, Oregon, the Basque country of Spain, Hawaii (“Jaws” on Maui) and two events in Mexico (Todos Santos and the mainland region). It never came together, largely due to personality conflicts at the highest level, and it’s a touchy issue because no big-wave tour is quite complete without the fabled break off the coast of Half Moon Bay.

Mavericks organizers have always cherished their independence — in the manner of the annual Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore — and the Southern California-based Cartel company, which runs the Mavericks event, has reportedly locked up a contest permit for the next five years.

Some surfers, Baker among them, love the prospect of surfing the WSL’s big-wave events. Baker won the overall title on that tour in 2013 and 2014. The decision about Baker was not made by Cartel but by a five-man committee comprised of: Jeff ClarkMatt Ambrose, Darryl “Flea” Virostko, Ion Banner and Shawn Rhodes.

Baker won the first Mavericks contest he entered, in February 2006. He finished second in January ’08, reached the semifinals in February 2010 and won for a second time in January ’14, the last time the event was held.

-Bill at

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