Twiggy Baker, Dungeons. Photo: van Gysen
Twiggy Baker, Dungeons. Photo: van Gysen

Open Up The Dungeon

Rebel Sessions, the latest competitive iteration at the South African Big-Wave break

Dungeons — South Africa’s resident big-wave break, Mavericks lookalike, and giant shark aquarium — makes the news whenever a swell hits, but alas, not often, especially in the competitive space. The Red Bull Big Wave Africa began in 2000 and intermittently hosted a group of big-wave bravehearts at Hout Bay when conditions were large enough to give the green light. As fickle as it was short-lived, the event named only four winners in its history: Sean Holmes (2000), Greg Long (2003), John Whittle (2006), and Twiggy Baker (2008). Other than the occasional photo gallery, media coverage came and went.

In 2011, a new edition of competition at Dungeons was announced: the Rebel Sessions, an event that trained the spotlight on South Africa’s ambitious big-wave locals. The event only ran that one year, but it’s back and we’re currently in the middle of the waiting period, from July 18th until October 31st.

This year, the Rebel Sessions takes the format of a one-day invite session for 20 local chargers and 5 international competitors (The roster is forthcoming). Prize-money winners across four categories, listed below, are determined by a vote from the invited surfers, combined with the judging from a panel led by former national champion Ian Armstrong.

DEDICATION: WATERMAN AWARD – 50,000 Rand
In response to the local big wave surfers' input this year, it has been decided that there needs to be recognition for consistency across the days' surfing as opposed to just rewarding the surfer who is lucky enough to catch the stand out wave of the day. This award is for the surfer who works hardest, throws themselves at everything, rides with skill and dominates the session.

INSPIRATION: BIGGEST PADDLE WAVE – R25,000
This award speaks for itself. Big wave surfing is about big waves. The surfer with the patience and positioning to score the "wave of the day" and back this up with the skill to ride it clearly deserves recognition.

MOTIVATION: ROOKIE – R15,000
Standing in the shadows, just out of the lime light are a frothing bunch of nobodies just waiting to be named. This award is for the little-known surfer who steps up, and stands out in the Session.

CONSEQUENCES: WORST WIPEOUT – R10,000
Nobody really wants this, but if you're pushing it, you might just win it anyway! You never know unless you go…

For more information about the event, click here.