Billy Kemper of Kuau roared through the second round of the Vans World Cup of Surfing on Friday with the best score of the contest so far, and four other Maui competitors also advanced in waves of 6-10 feet at Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore in the second event of the Triple Crown.
Kemper won his heat with a score of 17.00 that included a 9.00 wave - the fifth to come within one point of perfection after the first two rounds.
"I've been surfing here since I was 8 years old," said Kemper, 22, who won the 2010 HIC Pro at Sunset. "To me it's local knowledge of surfing out here and putting in your time. I mean this morning there was a bunch of kids out here who surf unbelievable - some of the best surfers in the world - but they're out here the day before the contest practicing rather than those of us who are out here year-round. We surf out here everyday, it's our backyard and I think that's what really comes into play."
Billy Kemper rides through a barrel on the way to winning his Vans World Cup of Surfing second-round heat Friday at Sunset Beach.
ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS / KIRSTIN SCHOLTZ photo
Dusty Payne, an Association of Surfing Professionals world tour member from Lahaina, won his heat with a 14.67, the 10th-best score of the contest. Ian Gentil of Paia won his heat as well.
Haiku's Ian Walsh, who is in the field for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, advanced with a second-place finish, as did Napili's Granger Larsen.
Hank Gaskell of Hana was narrowly eliminated. His score of 12.84 left him third in his heat, three-tenths of a point behind the runner-up, Joan Duru of France. Olamana Eleogram of Hana and Kai Barger of Haiku also failed to advance.