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Maui wins big

Kemper repeats at Peahi Challenge, Alms claims inaugural women’s title

Maui surfer Billy Kemper heads to win in the Big Wave Tour’s Peahi Challenge on Friday. World Surf League / TONY HEFF photo

Billy Kemper of Kuau and Paige Alms of Haiku each made history.

Kemper repeated as the men’s champion in the Peahi Challenge on Friday, posting a perfect-10 wave in the final of the World Surf League Big Wave Tour event, and Alms won the inaugural women’s competition.

“I’ve put a lot of work and effort into this and thank you to everyone that’s ever supported me,” Kemper said.

“I came here to win again and I did. I feels good to win here. I grew up here — this is my backyard.”

Kemper finished with a 29.07 in the final at the spot known as “Jaws.” He won the inaugural event in December of 2015.

Paige Alms also heads to win in the Big Wave Tour’s Peahi Challenge on Friday. World Surf League / RICHARD HALLMAN photo

This year’s second-place finisher was California’s Greg Long (26.69), the reigning tour champion. South Africa’s Grant Baker (22.47), this year’s points leader, was third.

Alms had a score of 21.66 in the final round, and France’s Justine Dupont was the runner-up with a 10.77. Australia’s Felicity Palmateer (1.63) was the other finalist.

“This has been a dream to have an event for the women here,” Alms said.

Keala Kennelly, Emily Erickson and Laura Enever were unable to compete in the final after sustaining injuries in the first round.

Kemper was the only Maui competitor to reach the men’s final. Kai Lenny, Yuri Soledade and Shaun Walsh bowed out in the semifinals, while Ian Walsh, Dege O’Connell, Albee Layer, Francisco Porcella and Tyler Larronde were eliminated in the opening round.

Men’s runner-up Greg Long competes during the final Friday. World Surf League / KELLY CESTARI photo

Alms also won her first-round heat. The other competitor from Maui, Andrea Moller, did not get past the first round.

Alms said a strong wind made for an “extremely challenging” day.

“I surf here all the time and the wind today is very difficult,” she said. “It throws huge chops at you and puts so much air under your nose so you really have to push.”

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WORLD SURF LEAGUE BIG WAVE TOUR PEAHI CHALLENGE

Women’s champion Paige Alms holds her trophy. World Surf League / RICHARD HALLMAN photo

Friday’s Results

At Peahi

Men

Final

1. Billy Kemper 29.07, 2. Greg Long 26.69, 3. Grant Baker 22.47, 4. Nic Lamb 18.89, 5. Pedro Calado 18.04, 6. Will Skudin 14.41.

Billy Kemper celebrates his win. World Surf League / TONY HEFF photo

Semifinals

Heat 1–1. Greg Long 16.66, 2. Billy Kemper 13.97, 3. Grant Baker 13.51, 4. Cristian Merello 13.26, 5. Kai Lenny 10.36, 6. Josh Kerr 8.97

Heat 2–1.Nic Lamb 16.41, 2. Pedro Calado 12.67, 3. Will Skudin 10.53, 4. Aaron Gold 10.14, 5. Yuri Soledade 6.73, 6. Shaun Walsh 1.74.

First Round

Heat 1–1. Greg Long 11.66, 2. Josh Kerr 11.56, 3. Cristian Merello 11.33, 4. Tyler Larronde 9.33, 5. Jamie Mitchell 6.00, 6. Gabriel Villaran 1.00.

Laura Enever rides a wave in the first round. World Surf League / RICHARD HALLMAN photo

Heat 2–1. Billy Kemper 18.20, 2. Grant Baker 16.67, 3. Kai Lenny 11.60, 4. Ian Walsh 9.36, 5. Carlos Burle 8.03, 6. Dege O’Connell 7.07.

Heat 3–1. Aaron Gold 18.97, 2. Yuri Soledade 18.29, 3. Will Skudin 15.77, 4. Mark Healey 12.56, 5. Makuakai Rothman 11.53, 6. Albee Layer 9.14.

Heat 4–1. Nic Lamb 16.96, 2. Shaun Walsh 16.83, 3. Pedro Calado 14.66, 4. Damien Hobgood 13.57, 5. Shane Dorian 12.27, 6. Francisco Porcella 9.73.

* * *

Women

Final

1. Paige Alms 21.66, 2. Justine Dupont 10.77, 3 . Felicity Palmateer 1.63.

First Round

Heat 1–1. Keala Kennelly 13.66, 2. Justine Dupont 7.59, 3. Emily Erickson 2.34, 4. Polly Ralda 2.00, 5. Andrea Moller 1.40, 6. Silvia Nabuco 0.00.

Heat 2–1. Paige Alms 12.34, 2. Felicity Palmateer 11.00, 3. Laura Enever 2.67, 4. Bianca Valenti 2.29, 5. Jamilah Star 1.46, 6. Tammy-Lee Smith 1.06.