When Grant "Twiggy" Baker travels, he carries a magazine with himself on the cover so he can show it to the airline check-in agent. "I tell them I'm a professional surfer and traveling to a contest and need to rest, then I ask for an upgrade." Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I happened to be on Twiggy's flight from Johannesburg to New York as he made his way to the Puerto Escondido Challenge, and while he didn't get his upgrade, he hustled a deal with a couple of passengers to do a time share on a row of four seats, and woke up fresh in New York with 8 hours of horizontal sleep.
Twiggy is a man that gets what he wants — on planes, in life, in the water. And on the final day of the 2016 Puerto Escondido Challenge, he wanted the win. And it wasn't even close. He skated through the semis with a 26.34 total (out of 30), and kept his rhythm in the final with a 27.5 total, complete with a 10-point ride.
Yes, the waves were a few feet smaller than yesterday. Sure, Greg Long got inexplicably gifted a spot into the final. But as Albee Layer said on his Instagram, "the guy that performed won, so that's good." With the win, Twiggy takes the BWT ratings lead and will fly home with $25,000 for his wife and 5-month old daughter, Billi. We'd bet he gets upgraded. —Taylor Paul