Interview with Big Wave legend, Twiggy Baker

Friday, 28 July, 2017
Surfing has been on our minds a lot lately, what with it being Winter and having just watched the pros get absolutely barrelled at the Corona Jbay Open. And then we remembered we had this interview with Mr Grant Twiggy Baker and we thought you might enjoy it...

Frank Solomon (right) free-falls on a 25ft Dungeons bomb, while Twiggy (left) gets in wider on the shoulder. ©Cestari

Your surfing style has been described as energetic and aggressive, does this have anything to do with the amount of coffee you drink?

Haha, to be honest I don’t drink that much coffee and am mostly a Tea totaler but if I need a lift off at 5am in the morning with a big day ahead I’ll have a mug of the good stuff for sure.

You spend a lot of time in Hawaii, a place that grows some of the most sought after coffee in the world. What makes these islands special for you? And have you tasted Kona coffee?!

Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing and one of the most magical areas on earth, from Kauai in the North to Maui in the South I’m smitten by the Islands and yes, the Kona coffee as with most things indigenous is amazing.

What’s your morning ritual, coffee before or after surfing? Or both ;)
If I’m drinking coffee I’ll save it for one early cup a day, good old filter pot.

Twig, you and your (other!) partner in crime, Reg McDonald have paddled into the Beverage and Food Wave in a big way! First Aces n Spades, then Village Idiot and now SurferRosa. We have a few questions about this! Firstly, what made you guys trade surfboards for tables?

Reg is a master at the Restaurant / Bar business with experience in running and owning establishments around the World including famous places in Hollywood like the National and Tokyo. So when he decided to return home to South Africa and needed a financial partner it was a no brainer for me to join him.

Have your friendships and surfing helped your business?

Yes for sure, the old age saying of “its not what but who you know” is even more important in this game and if it wasn’t for the support of our friends we wouldn’t be successful.

Do you serve decent coffee at any of the above, even though getting shit-faced is probaly the primary beverage focus?

Haha, yes, we are well known for our excellent coffee at The Village Idiot but in the end people come to drink and have a good time.

What’s the best coffee you’ve ever tasted?  
In San Francisco there’s this little place in the city that Grant Washburn takes me to that will blow your mind!

The Coffee Industry are missing having Kate around at the barista competitions! How is the new family? Will Billi chase waves, boys or tables?

My family is amazing and we are having the time of our lives right now! Its to soon to gauge what Billi will be interested in and whatever she chooses we will support here 100%.

On a surfing note, you’re the BWWChamp! What did it feel like tearing down the face of the Nazare wave that clinched you the Big Wave World Title 2016/2017?
Being the Champ feels great and its a vindication of all the time, effort and money I put into the sport over the past 15 years. Its only a title and in the end doesn’t mean that much in the big picture but its a good stepping stone to a strong future for my family.

What has been your greatest professional achievement so far, which win meant the most to you?

I think my involvement in my families Orphanage ( is something I’m proud of. What my Mom Joan and Dad Tich have done on that hill in Inanda is something truly special.

Twiggy gets his fair share of tube time! ©Craig Kolesky

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