How Does Twiggy's Brain Work When He's Sliding Down A 50-Footer? - Stab Mag
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How Does Twiggy’s Brain Work When He’s Sliding Down A 50-Footer?

The 3x Big Wave World Champ can tell when there’s ⅛ inch too much foam.

cinema // Dec 8, 2021
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Just Noticeable Difference (JND) is the amount something must be changed in order for a difference to be noticeable at least half the time. It is commonly used in the field of psychophysics to study perception and sensation. 

In trained musicians, the JND between two tones shrinks from a standard baseline by virtue of their ‘ears’ becoming more sensitive to acoustic variance. It is an acquired skill that comes with intense study and training, and can seem like magic to those without domain-specific clout. 

Twiggy has been surfing big waves for well over half his life. At 48, Twig has won 3 Big Wave world titles and has truly got his equipment dialed. His JND for big wave boards almost sounds pretentious. “I honestly think we could take another ⅛ inch of the thickness,” would sound ridiculous if it came from the mouth of someone who wasn’t so astute in their understanding of big wave equipment. 

For Twig, however, this makes perfect sense. 

Working with shaper Axel Lorentz (famous for multiple SITD final finishes), Twig spent the early big wave season perched up on the cobblestone pavements surrounding Nazare getting his quiver fine-tuned for the forthcoming Eddie Aikau and Jaws Invitational. He also managed to sneak in some surfs out the front on some of the best ever paddle conditions in recent memory.

“I spend the full five winter months in the northern hemisphere training. I’ve been in Europe and the US for six weeks already,” says Twig who left South Africa well before the Omicron outbreak had nations shutting their doors to SA visitors.

This clip is put together by Kelly Foote, “I want to show how the ocean and surfing its waves creates community, by focusing on the shaper/surfer relationship and how that brings humans together around a common goal; to enjoy nature. I am a shaper surfer myself, a 100-tonne boat captain, fisherman, and overall lover of humans interacting with the ocean.”

Upcoming episodes in his surfer/shaper series include Lyle Carlson/ Dick Brewer and Emi Erickson, Ryan Lovelace, Dylan Longbottom, and others. 

Stay tuned.

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