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Kemper, deVault claim spots in Billabong Pipe Masters

The Maui News

Maui surfers Billy Kemper and Imaikalani deVault earned wild-card spots into the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons after they finished first and second, respectively, in the Pipe Invitational on Monday.

The Billabong Pipe Masters, the final event of the World Surf League Championship Tour, will likely start today at the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore.

Kemper and deVault qualified for the event after taking the top two spots in the all-Hawaii final in the Pipe Invitational. Kemper’s two-wave score of 13.17 was tops in the final, while deVault’s 12.50 was more than good enough to beat out Oahu’s Keanu Asing (7.56) and the Big Island’s Koa Smith (3.83) for the final Pipe Masters spot.

It will be Kemper’s second appearance in the Pipe Masters – he was also in the event in 2012. For deVault, it will be the 22-year-old’s first Championship Tour event.

“I can’t believe it, long day but so stoked, dream come true,” deVault was quoted as saying in a WSL press release. “It will be my first CT ever, so I’m excited. Looks like we have good waves coming so it should be fun. I’m going to have a gnarly heat, I’m not sure who I’m going to draw but I know it will be one of the top seeds. It will be fun, hopefully I get a couple sick waves.”

In the first round, the Maui boys will face a quartet of Brazilians — deVault takes on Gabriel Medina and Willian Cardoso, and Kemper faces Italo Ferreira and Michael Rodrigues. Ferreira and Medina are 1-2 in the world rankings heading into the competition.