The big-wave world has had a seasonal heyday with the recent swell activity at places like Mavericks, but the world's best dropped everything and bolted to Maui after the green light was given for the 2016 Pe'ahi Challenge, where Jaws tested male and female competitors alike with strong trade winds and elevator-shaft drops. Aaron Gold, negotiating the day's dangerous chop on his self-shaped gun.

Greg Long and Chilean Cristian Merello, splitting the peak during Round One.

Friday included one of the proudest advancements in women's surfing history, and in turn, one of the proudest advancements in women's athletic history: the first ever professionally sanctioned big-wave event. Haiku-native Paige Alms (shown here on her title-winning wave), Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, Bianca Valenti, Emily Erickson, and seven of the world's best female riders threw themselves over ledge and boil to pave the way for women's equality in large waves, and they weathered the bruises to prove it. Three of the event's finalists, including Kennelly, Erickson, and Laura Enever, were unable to compete after three separate wipeouts sent them to the hospital. But the benchmark has been set, and with the Titans of Mavericks' inaugural women's heat in the coming months, their performances will only continue to shatter ceilings.

The second women's heat, waiting in the channel to make its mark on history. From left to right: Laura Enever, Felicity Palmateer, Tammy-Lee Smith, Jamilah Star, Bianca Valenti, and Paige Alms.

Keala Kennelly, sending it into the record books with the first women's wave at Jaws in a singlet.

2015 Pe'ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper picked up where he left off by packing a few of the thickest bombs in the early rounds. Kemper, nabbing one of the highest scores of Round One.

Rescue crews were on alert in the channel all day, quick to locate fallen chargers in the impact zone.

Tyler Larronde, about to rinse off.

Hana native Dedge O'Connell, setting his line.

Maui's Kai Lenny was already one of the field's most well-rounded competitors entering the event, thanks partly to his unreal talent on every form of surfcraft imaginable. So it wasn't a big surprise that Lenny turned in the afternoon's most progressive rides at Jaws, adding grab-rail cutbacks like he was surfing shoulder-high Lahaina Harbor.

Greg Long, the 2015 Big-Wave World Champion, has pocketed a pair of second-place finishes, once at the Puerto Escondido Challenge in June, and now at Jaws, where his wave selection is one of the best and most patient you'll see at any big-wave event. Long, pocketing nothing less than a bomb.

Ian Walsh, keeping his dreams distant from a whitewater throwdown.

Along with Shane Dorian and Greg Long, few own the big-wave spotlight like Grant "Twiggy" Baker, who kept his lead on the 2016 BWWT roster with a third-place finish at Pe'ahi. Whether in front of a judge, jetski, or helicopter, Twiggy knows the right waves to pick, every time.

Paia Fish Market owner and Pe'ahi local Yuri Solidade, making a Jaws monster look more manageable than lunchtime rush hour.

Many lefts were ridden at this year's Pe'ahi Challenge. Count the fearlessness of lead-footed goofys like Mark Healey as an important reason why.

Pedro Callado, not against charging waves of consequence on his backhand, rode to a fifth place finish.

In one of the more technically flawless bottom-turns we've ever seen Jaws, Kemper completed this drop and briefly disappeared inside a 20-ft tube for the day's only perfect-10 score. He later scored a 9.07 in the event's final minutes by packing another Jaws cavern.

"I've trained so hard over the last eight weeks," said Kemper in his post-final interview with Strider. "I finally feel 100%, whereas I didn't last year. I'm over the moon right now."

Congratulations to Billy Kemper, your 2016 Pe'ahi Challenge Champion.