Twig: A Calculated Madness

There’s no question that Grant “Twiggy” Baker is a staple in the big wave surf scene. He has taken home a number of honors in the big wave community including a win in last month’s Maverick’s Invitational.  

We caught up with fellow big wave rider, Derek Dunfee, about Twiggy and his short film, “Twig: A Calculated Madness,” after a strike mission together down to South Africa.

How did the idea for this film come about?

This past summer, I spent a month with Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker in Cape Town, South Africa.

Twiggy charges big waves harder than anyone I know, and he describes his approach to big wave surfing as a “calculated madness.” I brought all my camera gear and tried to document the whole trip. A lot of times, I shot video before and after I surfed. When I came home from South Africa,  I met with Surfing Magazine’s Taylor Paul because he was working on a big wave issue. I ended up writing an article called ‘African Fortnight,’ and making the video more focused on Twiggy.

After pursuing big waves yourself what is something that you’ve learned in the process that you didn’t expect when you first started?

Patience. It’s easy to get real emotional chasing big swells and surfing big waves. I’ve learned to relax and enjoy the moment. Surfing big waves is really scary, and it makes me appreciate everything I have and the people that care about me.

Who in your opinion are the top 3 big wave surfers in the world?

Shane Dorian, Twiggy and Mark Healy.

What separates these top guys from everyone else?

All three of those guys can surf really good in both big and small waves. They can also get really barreled in heavy waves like Puerto Escondido and big Pipeline. I have seen them all get crazy big tubes (Pipe, Cloudbreak, Puerto) and charge the tallest waves (Mavericks and Jaws). They constantly push the level of big wave surfing.

What about Twiggy are you hoping the viewers learn from this short?

Twig is fearless in big waves. He thrives and shines on the biggest and heaviest waves. A lot of people always ask what it is like to surf big waves, so I wanted to give the viewer a glimpse of the action.

Cape Town was a perfect place to make this video because of its long history of big wave surfing. Twig lost his main surfing sponsor (Billabong) just before I arrived, so he was on a mission to charge the craziest waves.

Twiggy was on fire my whole trip and I wanted to share some of his upbeat personality and what goes through his mind when he surfs big waves. I have always wanted to make a film that follows a big wave surfer on a big wave strike mission.

Follow Derek on Instagram – @derekdunfee (

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