Narrowly defeating yesterdays tow session hero Kai Lenny.
Yesterday at Jaws was about pure survival, today it was all about the tube. And Wind! Oowee it was blowing hard on Maui this morning.
And yes, we are aware that the wind was one of the main factors that led to the events cancellation yesterday, but overnight the swell had dropped enough to not be considered life threatening, even if the 30 knot trades meant competitors were effectively taking off blindfolded on every wave. Such was the magnitude of the spray roaring up the face and off the back of each wave, if you could pool it together it probably could’ve formed a 10 ft wave all on its own.
Despite the visual handicap the surfers picked right back up where they left off and ripped in to the waves on offer. Tubes were the order of the day and Albee Layer’s west bowl got a workout.
In the end it was the Maui boys who dominated the field with four of the six finalists all natives of the host island. Those being Albee Layer, Tyler Larronde, Kai Lenny and Billy Kemper.
Albee did what Albee does. Sticking to the west bowl and chipping into the tubes he helped pioneer at the wave. He may have also sent a subtle shot over the bow of the organisers for calling off the event when he poo-manned the drop on a wave in his semi final, seemingly mocking the insignificant size of the ride. Or perhaps just mocking himself for swinging on it.
Young Tyler Larronde took one of the beatings of the day, falling from the sky into the flats right on his back before being annihilated by the lip. In a post heat interview he confirmed the severity of the beating by admitting he was coughing up blood after the wipeout. He also managed to hit the bottom, which is no mean feat at Jaws. He recovered and charged hard, threading a few nice tubes and marking himself as one to watch at the wave in future.
Isn’t Kai Lenny just the ultimate waterman? If James Bond were a surfer he would assume the form of Mr. Lenny. In a post heat interview he played off yesterdays tow session heroics with a laugh, exclaiming that a ten foot airdrop out of the lip on a 50 foot face is all in a days work while flashing a perfect set of pearly whites for the camera.
Today he again showed his durability, swapping his short tow-board for his big wave gun he continued to draw lines that defy the imagination, carving long arcs where others would merely be gunning for the channel, and threading tubes with ease. He was unlucky not to win the whole thing.
Todays win went to the man who started the whole show yesterday by packing one of the biggest tubes ever ridden on the first wave of the event, Mr. Billy Kemper.
Billy is a stone cold killer when it comes to competition. He looked gone for all money in the semi final, and after his heroics on day one it didn’t seem right. But I swear he straight up willed a wave to come to him in the dying stages, threading a gnarly west bowl tube and muscling his way into the final.
In the final it was a two horse race between Billy and Kai, with Billy eventually claiming the win with a dogged effort in some still very large tubes; his third event win at the wave. An incredible feat. Billy will now knock a few feet off his boards and head back to Sunset where he is still in the draw. Lookout for him there, Sunset is gonna be childs play after his last 48 hours.