Stab Magazine | Shane Dorian, Twiggy and Alex Gray talk BWT at Puerto Escondido
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Shane Dorian, Twiggy and Alex Gray talk BWT at Puerto Escondido

Story by Theo Lewitt The Big Wave World Tour just added some Mexican thunder to this year’s schedule. Puerto. Escondido. The first and only beachbreak on the BWT in its six years of existence. So, what’s the big deal? While every spot on the big game tour is undoubtedly heavy, burger or not, Puerto offers its own, unique brand of […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Story by Theo Lewitt

The Big Wave World Tour just added some Mexican thunder to this year’s schedule. Puerto. Escondido. The first and only beachbreak on the BWT in its six years of existence. So, what’s the big deal? While every spot on the big game tour is undoubtedly heavy, burger or not, Puerto offers its own, unique brand of big wave surfing. Here, the name of the game isn’t just stroke in early and outrun the foam-ball, and a completed ride doesn’t mean kicking out in a shipping-lane-deep channel. Here, it’s a bit different. Like, top-to-bottom death-pits exploding close to shore, different. There’s a reason why three out of five of the 2015 WSL Big Wave Ride of the Year nominees came from Puerto, plus a wipeout nominee (thank you, Mr Kemper!). Stab gathered some opinion from Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker,  Shane Dorian and Alex Gray about the tour’s newest, perhaps most-anticipated stop.

Stab: Tell me about Puerto as a “big wave” venue?

Shane: It’ll be a good event. Puerto is fairly easy to forecast accurately, and it gets big enough to hold the event every year which will be great.

Twiggy: I love Puerto as a wave, a town, and as one of the iconic big wave zones in the world. I’ve been traveling there regularly for the barrels on offer since the early 90s, and it’s one of my favorite destinations on the planet.

Alex: I think it’s amazing because the event will run no matter what. I think that’s where some complications arise with the tour, looking for a certain criteria to run an event. Puerto is probably one of the most consistent big waves in the world, which pretty much takes that element out. And the fact that it offers up a big, nasty tuberide is just rad. I think it’s really gonna be a tuberiding contest which is the best part of big waves. Puerto is the best of all worlds to run a contest.

As the only beachbreak, does it change much for the tour? Does it fit the current mould?  

Shane: It definitely changes things up a bit, but I think you’ll see different surfers rise to the occasion. Puerto is much different than the other event locations, being a shallow break (and basically a huge sand closeout on most waves). It’ll be cool to see who can adapt.

Twiggy: It fits the mould perfectly for the BWT and it’s exactly what we needed to help change things up. With the addition of a beachbreak we’ll get to see who can adapt from a massive reefbreak like Jaws into a thundering beachbreak barrel like Puerto, and truly deserve to be a World Champ.

Alex: The way that it breaks over sand is very unique. A lot of the tour events are at outer reefs, so it adds that aspect of a Pipeline-esque theatre in the sense that it breaks a couple hundred metres off the sand. It just adds that production value, being so much easier to cover for the fans, making it really entertaining. It’ll be all about wave selection and not getting stuck in the rips, though (laughs). Even on a freesurfing swells, sometimes there’s only five waves ridden in five hours, so it’ll be really interesting to see how many waves are ridden during the heats, especially if it’s huge and proper.

Who do you see as the biggest threat at Puerto?

Shane: I think Greg Long will do well. He goes there every year and has spent a ton of time there, so he knows which ones are the best waves. And, he’s obviously good at competing. Also, the locals, Coco (Nogales) and Oscar (Moncada) will be huge threats as well. Local knowledge will play a big factor.

Twiggy: Obviously all the local guys are the best when the swell picks up, but then Greg Long, Shane Dorian and Nick Lamb will be hard to beat out there. All I can hope for are waves in excess of 40 feet on the face, otherwise I can’t compete with how well those guys surf in medium sized barrels!

Alex: I always go with the locals. Someone like Coco Nogales. But, the tour surfers? I couldn’t pick a guy. Everybody specialises in a wave like that. Greg Long is the most experienced out there, and the wave the Shane Dorian rode this past summer out there was unbelievable. Mark Healey has done some crazy stuff out there, too. The list really goes on. Puerto is a tough wave, though. There’s a lot of water moving and rips that will  send you a quarter mile out past the wave, so the local Mexican guys will have a hand up on everyone, f’sure, because that’s what they do and know.

Will it be the best contest of the year for spectators?

Shane: Hell yes! It’ll be awesome. I’ll be tuning in to watch the carnage!

Alex: Yeah, f’sure. I mean, I guess people could fly down there and be on the beach and watch, which would be cool! But I think for the webcast, it’ll be a great event for the production team to be able to be able to set up for cool angles on the beach. Easier than an outer reef, f’sure.

Who will break the most boards out there?

Shane: I would have to bet on Healey for this one. He has no filter, and I like that.

Will there be more broken boards than at any other event?

Shane: I think there’ll be a ton of broken boards. Most of the time, finding a wave that doesn’t close out is the biggest factor at Puerto, so it’ll be fun to see it all go down.

Alex: Yeah. There’s gonna be carnage. There’s no doubt gonna be some tomb-stoning going down.

Are we still gonna see everyone using a life vest in shallow waters?

Shane: I think many people won’t use them. Puerto is different, being a shallow break. I think lots of guys will just surf in trunks.

Alex: Yeah. Safety is the main point. But, it comes down to the individual and your comfort level that day. There’s probably gonna be an incredible team of water safety, which is always part of these events and is huge, but I think it’s smart to do it. I mean, Shane started it, so if you’ve got the best big wave surfer in the world doing it, why wouldn’t everybody else? The point is to push your limits, but do as much of it as in control as you can… but the rest? You give yourself up because that’s what you love to do.

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