Billy Kemper Wins The 2015 Pe’ahi Challenge
In one of the most entertaining surfing events ever.
All photos by Brent Bielmann
The Big Wave Tour needed this. The surfers needed this. We needed this. While The Pe’ahi Challenge has been an elusive event to get off the ground — due to either swell or politics — the wave brought its A-game for elite big-wave surfers from around the world on Sunday. And yes, they brought their A-game, too. Here’s who got A+’s, gold stars and extra sprinkles on their big wave sundae…
–Billy Kemper: Not only did the hometown boy win the contest, but he repeatedly stuck the heaviest drops on the biggest waves. And got barreled. Sounds like an obvious recipe for winning, and it is, it’s just not easy.
–Greg Long: His deep-and-airy drop-to-closeout barrel 9-point ride made you yell at your screen, hit rewind, record it and post it on Instagram. We know, because we saw your post. He’d get third in the comp.
–Albee Layer: Gotta love him. Having been told the judges weren’t rewarding the smaller west bowl waves (his go-to lineup out there), he snagged one anyway, raised both his middle fingers to the authorities, came out and kept going all the way to second place.
–Shaun Walsh: He didn’t final, but he did have the craziest drop of the event.
-Also, a big gold star for Peter Mel and the BWT, who put on an incredible event with an unparalleled production for a big wave event. Speaking of gold. The BWT introduced a new tier system to the tour, which gives more weight to events that are held in more critical surf. Today was a “Gold Coefficient” because the waves were big and gnarly, meaning Billy gets 15,625 points for his win instead of 10,000. Basically, Billy gets rewarded because he won at 50-foot Pe’ahi, not a 20-foot pointbreak.
A lot of people ate shit, too. Watch that here. –Taylor Paul
Photos in order of appearance:
Ian Walsh and Shane Dorian
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