Conner Coffin Takes Sunset & The New Crew For The Tour In 2018…

Conner Coffin Takes Sunset & The New Crew For The Tour In 2018…

Conner Coffin of USA wins the 2017 WSL Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, Oahu

If such a thing exists as a sneaky win, Conner Coffin snuck up on everyone and took out the 2017 Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach. The lineup at Sunset is a big canvas and Coffin paints in broad strokes with a vivid palette, placing turns in critical places and burying his rail with new-school power. And yet, he’s a surfer inspired as much by the traditional, stylish power lines of Taylor Knox and Brad Gerlach as he is by postmodern aerialists like Dane Reynolds (not that Reynolds is lacking in the power department).

“I’ve been coming over to Hawaii since I was 12, I just love surfing here,” said an emotional Coffin after taking the win. “It’s always been a dream to win in Hawaii, I struggled with contest results in the past, but always had so much fun surfing here I knew I’d put it together at some point.”

The Californian, currently ranked No. 21 on the Championship Tour, has a strong affinity for the North Shore. Home may be Santa Barbara, but the Coffin family has had a second home on the North Shore for over a decade. Conner, along with his younger brother Parker, have used their experience spending winters in heavy surf to launch themselves onto surfing’s world stage.

“It meant so much to have my brother here,” he said, reiterating multiple times the importance of sharing the victory with his younger sibling.

Coffin’s victory over two other Californians, Kolohe Andino and Griffin Colapinto, and as well as Australian Wade Carmichael was the capper to a pressure-packed final day of the Qualifying Series — a day with an abundance of compelling stories full of Championship Tour (CT) qualification and Triple Crown title implications.

Colapinto and Carmichael had especially significant days in their young professional careers.

Wade Carmichael of Australia places third in the finals of the 2017 WSL Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, Oahu

Carmichael started the day on the cusp of qualification, but needed to progress through at least two rounds to avoid a repeat of his 2015 qualification misfire. He’s been flirting with CT qualification for the past few years, suffering a crushing near-miss in 2015 after winning the Hawaiian Pro that winter.

Looking like a mirror image of the original Keg on Legs, legendary Aussie CT surfer Mick Lowe, the husky lumberjack from Avoca Beach, NSW, did better than that. By finishing 3rd, Carmichael made the Tour, and his aggressive approach will be a breathe of fresh air on the CT next year.

“I don’t know man, I just wanted to make some heats today and do some good surfing and I finally got a couple good waves, it feels good,” said a teary-eyed, gobsmacked Carmichael. “Yeah, it’s a dream come true. I’ve been trying so hard, I finally got a real good crack at it and it came true, I’m stoked man.”

If Carmichael had a day for the ages, Colapinto, the 19-year-old shooting star from San Clemente, Calif., might have done him one better. His 4th place finish at Sunset not only put him atop the Triple Crown ratings list, it boosted him into the top spot on the New Era QS rankings, overtaking Jesse Mendes on the last day of the year.

Griffin Colapinto of the USA advances to semifinals from quarterfinal heat 2 of the Vans World Cup 2017 at Sunset Beach, Hawaii

Although Colapinto didn’t reach his goal of winning a QS event this season, he was still over the moon with his performance on a climactic day full of intrigue. “I’m really stoked to make a few heats at Sunset, I haven’t really gotten a result out here before, but I’ve always felt like I surf good out here, now that I’m starting to make heats it feels good, I’m happy.”

Of significant note regarding the 2018 CT qualification hunt, two of the happiest surfers on Oahu (maybe the planet?) have to be Keanu Asing and Ezekiel Lau. The two Hawaiians were forced to watch other surfers decide their qualification hopes, biting their nails like a couple of dead men walking waiting for a last-minute pardon. In the end, the Hawaiian surf gods granted them a reprieve. They’ll both be on the CT next year.

Top 10 New Era Qualifying Series Rankings:

    1. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
    2. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
    3. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
    4. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
    5. Tomas Hermes (BRA)
    6. Yago Dora (BRA)
    7. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
    8. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
    9. Keanu Asing (HAW)
    10. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)

Finalists ©Tyler Walker / @bigredphotography

©Tyler Walker / @bigredphotography

Kolohe Andino of the USA advances in first to semifinals from quarterfinal heat three of the Vans World Cup 2017 at Sunset Beach, Hawaii

Tyler Wright World Champion … Again!

Tyler Wright World Champion … Again!

Today, Tyler Wright (AUS), 23, earned her second World Title after a big day of competition at the final event of the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Maui Women’s Pro. Honolua Bay delivered beautiful, five-to-seven foot (1.5 – 2.1 metre) waves as the swell filled in throughout the morning, which offered pristine conditions for the competitors. Massive upsets followed in Round 4 and the Quarterfinals, where Wright garnered the World Title by day’s end.

“Today was perfect,” said Wright. “I was so excited to be in this event and excited to be in this position. I have just been having the best week and I cannot explain how much this week has meant to me. We’ve just had a sick team and everyone has been amazing. All through the year, there have been little ups-and-downs, but to be in this moment right now in the position — I was happy before I won and I am just as happy now.”

 

The now two-time WSL Champion, Wright, came into the event in second place on the Jeep Leaderboard and as the defending event winner. Last season, the young Australian came charging through 2016 with a newfound determination and confidence, resulting in five CT wins (Gold Coast, Margaret River, Rio de Janeiro, Lower Trestles, Maui) and the world surfing crown. Wright continued the momentum into this year, locking in one event win at the Oi Rio Pro. In a dramatic turn of events, Wright suffered a knee injury just before the CT event in Cascais, Portugal but has since surfed her way to a huge comeback, climbing up the rankings to second and putting herself back in the World Title race to clinch the Championship again.

“This year definitely had its challenges, but I do not look at them that way,” Wright commented. “It was such a time of learning and growing that I took so much more from it than the knee injury itself. This year has just been one where I could have bowed out a lot of times but chose not to. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my team. They brought me back in from Portugal and the work they did in France was absolutely incredible. It is hard to explain how much they showed up and made sure I was in the right headspace to go out and compete and bring it to Maui in the end.”

With the major eliminations of World Title contenders Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Courtney Conlogue (USA), Wright’s last obstacle to claiming the title came down to the Quarterfinal matchup against event wildcard Brisa Hennessy (HAW). Hennessy, who played spoiler yesterday with her elimination of Fitzgibbons, could not find her rhythm in the heat and gave Wright her big victory with a 16.10 (out of a possible 20) two-wave score.

“It was not just one and done after winning last year,” continued Wright. “I decided in 2015 that I was going to win one every year and I want to hold true to that. Working with Glenn [Hall] over the last two years has been incredible. We have this long plan, and I plan to stick to it. Back-to-back is just a true testament to his dedication and the work he puts in non-stop. It takes a team to do this, so I want to thank him and everyone who has gotten me to this point in life. It is just nice to be here. Thank you.”

Conlogue’s World Title hopes were dismantled for the third year in a row after losing to Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in Round 4 Heat 3 today. The nail-biting heat between Conlogue and Van Dijk saw the Australian capitalize on her first and last waves for a slight 2.41-point advantage over the American. Current World No. 2 Conlogue faltered on multiple attempts as she looked for a minimal 6.11 to overtake Van Dijk. Conlogue’s elimination gave Wright the opportunity to take down her second World Title in the Quarterfinals.

“I’ll learn a few things from what went down in that heat,” Conlogue said. “I got denied on that first barrel, which was a bummer. I gave it my best shot and I’ve been trying a lot of new things this season, so I was pretty stoked to be in the title run even with all the experimentation I was doing. With everything said and done, there are things that you could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, but I gave it my best shot. I am not looking back, I am just looking ahead. I had the opportunity this year and I’ll have it next year.

“Once you put the jersey on, all the work should be done and that’s how you can have some ease, but today wasn’t my day,” continued Conlogue. “I handled that learning with an open mind and kept evolving this season and I really think at the start of next year everything’s going to be in the right gear. At the end of the day, there are things you wish could maybe change, but next year I’m going to learn from it and not take it back because it’s not going to be taken back.”

Despite taking out Conlogue in Round 4, Van Dijk fell to Malia Manuel (HAW) in the Quarterfinals and will be eliminated in Equal 5th place from the Maui Women’s Pro.

Stephanie Gilmore’s (AUS) impeccable form at Honolua Bay continued after posting another near-perfect 9.50 in her Quarterfinal heat against Silvana Lima (BRA). Although Gilmore could not earn her seventh World Title, the decorated competitor looks unstoppable in her hunt for a history-making, fourth Maui trophy.

“I said I wanted to start the year at the top and then had a dip, so I want to finish at the top and that means to try and win the event,” Gilmore said. “I am stoked for Tyler [Wright] winning again! She’s an incredible surfer and to go through a knee injury and still win a World Title is unbelievable. I’m just really happy for her.”

In another huge event upset, rookie Bronte Macaulay (AUS) took down Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion and two-time event winner, in the final Quarterfinal heat to close out the day. Macaulay’s backhand attack was relentless from start to finish, opening with a 6.33, and continued to show her persistence until the final horn sounded. This marks the 2017 CT rookie’s best result of the season and will face off against Manuel in her Semifinal match-up.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com

Tyler Wright’s 2017 WSL Championship Tour Results:
Roxy Pro Gold Coast: 5th
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: 2nd
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 3rd
Oi Rio Women’s Pro: 1st
Outerknown Fiji Women’s Pro: 3rd
Vans US Open of Surfing: 5th
Swatch Pro at Trestles: 9th
Cascais Women’s Pro: 13th
Roxy Pro France: 3rd
Maui Women’s Pro: TBD

Tyler Wright’s Championship Tour Career Rankings:
2017: 1st
2016: 1st
2015: 5th
2014: 2nd
2013: 2nd
2012: 4th
2011: 4th

Upcoming Maui Women’s Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
SF 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

Maui Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.57 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.20
QF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.10 def. Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 9.40
QF 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 16.67 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.63
QF 4: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.46 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.67

Maui Women’s Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.00 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.67
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 15.83 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 9.34
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.94 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.53
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.90 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 4.00

Tyler Wright (AUS) claimed WSL World Title 2 after winning Quarters Two at Women’s Maui Pro 2017 in Honolua Bay

Tyler Wright (AUS) claimed WSL World Title 2 after winning Quarters Two at Women’s Maui Pro 2017 in Honolua Bay

Tyler Wright (AUS) Placed 1st in Quarterfinal Four at the Roxy Pro France 2017, Hossegor, France

Reigning World Champion Tyler Wright of Australia surfing at the Future Classic in Lemoore, CA, USA

Tyler Wright (AUS), 23, earned her second back-to-back, World Title after a big day of competition at the final event of the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Maui Women’s Pro. Honolua Bay delivered beautiful, five-to-seven foot (1.5 – 2. metre) waves as the swell filled in throughout the morning, which offered pristine conditions for the competitors. Massive upsets followed in Round 4 and the Quarterfinals, where Wright garnered World Title by day’s end.

Reigning World Champion and current Jeep Rankings Leader Tyler Wright of Australia finished equal 9th in the 2017 Hurley Pro Trestles after placing second to 6X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in Heat 1 of Round Four at Trestles, CA, USA.

New World Tour Schedule Fiji & Trestles Gone…

New World Tour Schedule Fiji & Trestles Gone…

As the WSL moves into the next phase the tour changes begin… the loss of Fiji and Trestles are heavy. Arguably the best wave and the high performance fun park gone.

PRESS RELEASE

The World Surf League (WSL) has released the 2018 schedule of events covering the men’s and women’s Championship Tours (CT), Qualifying Series (QS), Pro Junior and Longboard tours as well as the WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT).

Key changes to the 2018 Championship Tour calendars include last week’s announcement of the CT event at Surf Ranch, Indonesia replacing Fiji, the world’s best women surfers joining the men at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, as well as the removal of Cascais, Portugal and Trestles, USA for 2018 (both markets planned to return to the schedule in the future).

“We’re excited about the release of the 2018 calendar, which includes some important changes designed to ensure we continue to champion the best surfing across the world and with a view to delivering long-term investment for the sport,” Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. “Indonesia is universally-regarded as home to world-class waves and is a location where the League is exploring long-term opportunities for the sport. While Fiji has been a multi-year pillar of the Dream Tour and we may return in future, appropriate support from the government of Fiji is needed to bring the world’s best back to Cloudbreak and Restaurants. Keramas is a fantastic venue and we are stoked to go there in 2018.”

“Additionally, we can’t wait to see what the world’s best women surfers will bring to the canvases of Jeffreys Bay in South Africa next season, accompanying the men to the iconic South African wave. Trestles and Cascais are not on the tour in 2018, which were difficult decisions for the League due to the heritage and the welcoming communities of both – however we’ll look for opportunities to incorporate those markets into the WSL calendar at some level in seasons to come.”

“The 2018 calendar has some of the most significant changes we have implemented in many years,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “While we sadly depart from some locations and say thank you to the communities who have supported us, we are also excited with the return to Indonesia and to hold the first ever CT event in a wave system at Surf Ranch. As the sport evolves we will continue to explore opportunities to enhance the schedule, collaborating with our stakeholders – Surfers as well as Partners.”

“As we move into a new era of professional surfing, it’s reassuring to have the support of WSL and commitment to putting the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves,” Adrian Buchan, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “Whilst we are disappointed at losing Fiji and Trestles for 2018, we are really excited to be returning to Keramas, Indonesia and for the inaugural Surf Ranch event. I have no doubt that the 2018 season will be injected with some fresh excitement from these new venues.”

“2018 is looking like the most exciting calendar year for women’s surfing yet,” Sage Erickson, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “Mixing up the venues and adding in new ones for us like Keramas and Jeffreys Bay is going to really showcase a new level of surfing from the women.”

2018 World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Australia – March 11 – 22, 2018
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Australia – March 28 – April 8, 2018
Margaret River Pro, Australia – April 11 – 22, 2018
Oi Rio Pro, Brazil – May 10 – 19, 2018
Bali Pro, Indonesia – May 27 – June 9, 2018
Corona Open J-Bay, South Africa – July 2 – 13, 2018
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, Tahiti – August 10 – 21, 2018
Surf Ranch Lemoore, California/USA. September 5 – 9, 2018
Quiksilver Pro France, France – October 3 – 14, 2018
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Portugal – October 16 – 27, 2018
Billabong Pipe Masters, Hawaii/USA – December 8 – 20, 2018

The 2017 WSL Men’s Championship Tour will finish with the Billabong Pipe Masters in memory of Andy Irons in Hawaii, USA from December 8 – 20, 2017.

2018 World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour:
Roxy Pro Gold Coast, Australia – March 11 – 22, 2018
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, Australia – March 28 – April 8, 2018
Margaret River Pro, Australia – April 11 – 22, 2018
Oi Rio Pro, Brazil – May 10 – 19, 2018
Bali Pro, Indonesia – May 27 – June 9, 2018
Corona Open J-Bay, South Africa – July 10 – 17, 2018
Vans US Open of Surfing, USA – July 30 – August 5, 2018
Surf Ranch Lemoore, California/USA. September 5 – 9, 2018
Roxy Pro France, France – October 3 – 14, 2018
Hawaii Women’s Pro, Hawaii/USA – November 25 – December 6, 2018

The 2017 WSL Women’s Championship Tour is culminating next week at Honolua Bay, Hawaii with the Maui Women’s Pro.

2018/2019 Big Wave Tour:
Puerto Escondido Challenge, Oaxaca/Mexico
Pe’ahi Challenge, Maui/Hawaii
Mavericks Challenge, California/USA
Nazaré Challenge, Costa de Prata/Portugal

A full 2018 WSL schedule can be accessed HERE.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com

Kelly’s Wave Pool Announced As World Tour Stop!

Kelly’s Wave Pool Announced As World Tour Stop!

Huge news from the WSL:

The World Surf League (WSL) is excited to announce that the WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore, Central California will host the world’s best surfers as part of the 2018 Championship Tour (CT) calendar.

“Based on the results of our test event this year and the feedback from surfers training at the facility throughout the season, next September’s event has the potential to be something special for both surfers and fans,” Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. “We’re only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport.”

“It’s incredible what the WSL and KSWC teams have developed at Surf Ranch over the past year and California’s Central Valley now boasts a world-class wave,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “This technology, and its ability to deliver high-quality waves at any location in the world, opens so many possibilities for how we can complement and evolve the competitive experience.”

Since coming online in December 2015, the WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore, California has undergone constant refinement and evolution of its technology. A test event this year in September delivered very positive results in terms of competitive experience and the overwhelmingly supportive feedback from surfers training there throughout the season has encouraged the WSL to pursue an event at the facility in 2018.

“The experience of competing at Surf Ranch is pretty extraordinary,” Adrian Buchan, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “What the team has created is hard to fathom at first – a perfect, 400-yard-long, bi-directional wave in the middle of rural California. I have no doubt that both the quality of the wave and the experience is befitting of hosting a world-class CT event. The Ocean will always be our home, but as we grow, having the opportunity to showcase and share the stoke of surfing to new audiences and schedule with pinpoint accuracy the huge match-ups and drama of the WSL is really exciting.”

“The surfers and the WSL have had a long-running discussion about the whole new set of opportunities that an event at the Surf Ranch facility can offer for the sport,” Sage Erickson, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “We now have the opportunity to schedule events in advance, guaranteed high-quality waves, fair opportunity for all surfers and a totally new and unique environment for spectators. One of the takeaways from this season’s test event is surfers really have to bring their whole arsenal – forehand, backhand, barrels, turns, airs and timing – to make an impact. It’s going to be incredible.”

A full 2018 WSL schedule is planned to be released next week.

Paige Alms and Ian Walsh take classic Jaws

Paige Alms and Ian Walsh take classic Jaws

Paige Alms of Hawaii wins the women’s 2017 wsl Pe’ahi challenge

Paige Alms (HAW) and Ian Walsh (HAW) have won the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Pe’ahi Challenge today in towering 30-to-40 foot-plus conditions at the world famous Pe‘ahi in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii.

The second event of the 2017/2018 BWT season tested the top big wave chargers as a solid swell delivered massive surf over two days at Pe’ahi with wave faces exceeding 45 feet. Event officials have rated this year’s Pe’ahi Challenge a Gold coefficient, the highest possible BWT rating, which will allocate 15,625 points to first place.

2016 Women’s Big Wave Champion Alms successfully defended her event title today after defeating a stacked field of competitors in the Final. Alms, who became the first ever Women’s Big Wave Champion at Pe’ahi last season, made history once again with her unprecedented big wave victory.

“I feel so grateful to be able to sit out in an empty lineup at firing, perfect Jaws,” Alms said. “It doesn’t get much better than that. Every single one of the women today sent it on a bomb. There were big waves out there and I was kind of kicking myself for not going on one set, but I just feel super stoked and honored.”

The Women’s Pe’ahi Challenge saw all six competitors charge monstrous set waves in the 60-minute Final. Alms stayed selective throughout the Final, utilizing her local knowledge to take off on two gigantic waves for the winning score, an excellent 21.23 combined score (out of a possible 30).

“Anyone that says they’re not scared of this place, I think they’re lying,” continued Alms. “I think it’s the most powerful and intimidating big wave anywhere in the world, by far. I definitely look up to Ian (Walsh) and I’m super stoked that he won it. We couldn’t have asked for anything more – it definitely put on a show so thanks Pe’ahi!”

Line up for the Pe’ahi Challenge

Big wave veteran Keala Kennelly (HAW) earned second place in the women’s event with four fearless attempts. Kennelly turned in a 17.21 heat score, including an impressive completion for a 7.17 single-wave score. Justine Dupont (FRA) looked in great form with three big attempts and took the third place result. Bianca Valenti (USA), Andrea Moller (BRA) and Felicity Palmateer (AUS) also charged the epic conditions to earn fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Ian Walsh of Hawaii wins the 2017 WSL Pe’ahi Challenge

Walsh earned his career-first BWT victory after dominating his Round 1 heat and the Final series. The 34-year-old, who was invited to compete as an event wildcard, capitalized on his opportunity to earn first place at his home break in Haiku and vault up to third place on the BWT rankings.

“This is a really big honor and I’m stoked that I can follow Billy (Kemper) and keep this thing on Maui,” said Walsh. “It was an incredible couple days of surfing, some challenging lulls but everyone here surfed really, really well and it was a pleasure to be in the water with them. It was fun to watch each heat almost, our sport progress as the waves got bigger and better. It feels just like those big free surf days, so I’m really honored and stoked.”

The men’s Final saw heated battles amongst the top six competitors. 2014/15 BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) gained an early lead with a 5.60, but the field quickly battled back with big attempts. Two-time Pe’ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW) opened his campaign with a committed 5.43 and maintained his do-or-die mentality after taking off impossibly deep on an enormous wave for a 6.57 backup score.

Ian Walsh of Hawaii advances to the finals after scoring a perfect 10 and placing third in the semifinal heat 2 of the 2017 WSL Pe’ahi Challenge

Kai Lenny (HAW), winner of the Puerto Escondido Challenge and BWT rankings frontrunner ahead of Maui, narrowly missed a collision with Ryan Hipwood (AUS) in the Final after committing to an under-the-ledge late drop into a 35-foot wave. Lenny managed to successfully ride out his first wave and stamp out a rail-carve for a 6.93 from the judges, then found a 4.40 backup score to finish fourth in the event. Lenny’s result strengthens his lead on the BWT with Kemper following closely behind and Walsh moving up to third.

Big wave veteran and Pe‘ahi professional Greg Long (USA) displayed good control throughout the event and maintained deep positioning in the lineup during the Final. En route to a fifth-place finish, Long took a high-line approach on his first wave in a barrel-hunt attempt and completed two rides to the channel for a combined heat score of 14.67.

The men’s second Semifinal saw event-best performances from both Walsh and Hipwood. Both surfers dropped Perfect 10’s for navigating steep takeoffs and cavernous barrels, with Walsh flying through two tube sections prior to winning the event.

Ahead of his runner-up result, Kemper narrowly got the edge over Danilo Couto (BRA) and Mark Healey (HAW) in Semifinal 1. Knowing Healey’s capabilities at Pe‘ahi, Kemper stayed close to the 35-year-old waterman in order to secure his position in the Final. Couto kept busy on the left-hand breaks, but fell just 0.57 points short of advancing through to the Final and will exit in Equal 7th place.

Highlights from the Pe’ahi Challenge can be found at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on the WSL’s Facebook page.

The 2017/2018 WSL Big Wave Tour season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components. The Southern Hemisphere window saw the completion of the Puerto Escondido Challenge earlier this year. The Northern Hemisphere window opened on October 15 and will run through February 28, 2018, with the potential to run the Nazaré Challenge in Portugal and the Mavericks Challenge in California.

WSL Big Wave Tour officials will monitor swell producing storms for the next four months and watch for the conditions that will produce waves in the 30-to-60-foot range for the remaining Northern Hemisphere events. Once the call is made, competitors will have 72 hours notice to be ready to compete.

2017/18 BWT Women’s Pe’ahi Challenge Final Results:
1 – Paige Alms (HAW) 21.23
2 – Keala Kennelly (HAW) 17.21
3 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 14.36
4 – Bianca Valenti (USA) 10.86
5 – Andrea Moller (BRA) 6.41
6 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 4.54

2017/18 BWT Men’s Pe’ahi Challenge Final Results:
1 – Ian Walsh (HAW) 21.67
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 18.57
3 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 18.46
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.26
5 – Greg Long (USA) 14.67
6 – Ryan Hipwood (AUS) 6.60

2017/18 BWT Men’s Pe’ahi Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 16.61, Greg Long (USA) 13.74, Billy Kemper (HAW) 11.83, Danilo Couto (BRA) 11.26, Mark Healey (HAW) 7.77, Cristian Merello (CHL) 4.66
SF 2: Ryan Hipwood (AUS) 26.50, Kai Lenny (HAW) 26.31, Ian Walsh (HAW) 25.33, Albee Layer (HAW) 24.23, Lucas Chianca (BRA) 22.19, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 16.44

2017/18 BWT Women’s BWT Rankings (after Pe’ahi Challenge):
1 -Paige Alms (HAW) 15,625 pts
2 – Keala Kennelly (HAW) 13,020 pts
3 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 10,850 pts
4 – Bianca Valenti (USA) 9,042 pts
5 – Andrea Moller (BRA) 7,536 pts

2017/18 Men’s BWT Rankings (after Pe’ahi Challenge):
1 -Kai Lenny (HAW) 19,042 pts
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 18,807 pts
3 – Ian Walsh (HAW) 15,625 pts
4 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 13,920 pts
5 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 10,647 pts

Pe’ahi Challenge Day One…

Pe’ahi Challenge Day One…

Albee Layer of Hawaii advances to the semifinals after placing third in round one heat 4 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge

The World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Pe’ahi Challenge completed men’s Round 1 today in epic 35 – 45 foot waves. With only the top three finishers from each six-man heat advancing out of Round 1, the world’s best big wave surfers battled the elements to secure a spot in the Semifinals.

Two-time Pe‘ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW) is off to a solid start after a big win in Round 1 Heat 1. The 27-year old garnered a 21.51 heat total (out of a possible 30) to advance straight to the Semifinals. Kemper’s win puts him within striking distance of a third-straight event victory when competition resumes tomorrow. Cristian Merello (CHL) and Mark Healey (HAW) will also advance to the next round with second and third place finishes, respectively. Koa Rothman (HAW) fell just 0.99 points short of advancing and will be eliminated along with Francisco Porcella (ITA) and replacement surfer Jimel Corzo (MEX).

“If there’s one way to kick off an event, I think that’s it,” said Kemper. “You got to work to play so that was definitely some hard work. I just kept my head in the right place and kept digging until I found the gold, and I found a really good wave. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it out, but I’m very lucky that they [judges] gave me the score that they did. That was probably one of the best barrels I’ve ever got out here, so, almost made it, but I’m just stoked. I’m in a really good head place so I’m here to have fun.”

Billy Kemper of Hawaii advances to the semifinals after winning round one heat 1 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge

2014/15 BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) is back in rhythm with his first heat win since last year’s Puerto Escondido Challenge. Rothman’s best wave earned him the highest single wave score of Heat 2, a 6.27, but his ride came with the price of a massive wipeout. The current BWT No. 7 will now focus on the Semifinals to continue his run at Pe‘ahi. Injury replacement Danilo Couto (BRA) went all out in the dangerous lineup to earn the second position. Two-time BWT Champion Greg Long (USA) battled through multiple wipeouts but eventually found a wave to earn him a spot in the Semifinals with a 13.94 heat total.

“That was a pretty good couple flips on the water,” Rothman said. “I’m just so happy to make a heat. This is my third year, and I haven’t made a heat until now, so it feels really good to be moving on. The swell is beautiful. There’s definitely some big bombs. We made a good call and stoked to have my feet up and relaxing and get ready for tomorrow.”

Ian Walsh of Hawaii advances to the semifinals after winning round one heat 3 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge

Ian Walsh’s (HAW) incredible Heat 3 performance raised the bar as he earned a commanding 26.13 two-wave total out of a possible 30. Walsh also secured the highest single-wave score of the day, an impressive 8.90, for a massive drop into a 45-foot wave that he navigated expertly through to the inside bowl. The Haiku native found the two best waves of the 60-minute heat and advanced into the Semifinals well ahead of his fellow competitors.

“It’s definitely pretty lully and a very intense incoming swell so you can feel the long period and the energy in the ocean,” commented Walsh. “When they do come, there is some opportunity. We just got a little bit of a North wind so kind of picking and choosing the right waves and trying to just make sure you’re in the right place when they come. Those are my first two waves to open up the 2017/2018 winter, and it’s conveniently at home for me here. I’m glad we’re getting a start to the winter this early and hopefully this snowballs into something pretty special.”

Ian Walsh of Hawaii advances to the semifinals after winning round one heat 3 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge

BWT Rankings leader Kai Lenny (HAW) followed closely behind Walsh with a 19.37 combined total. Heat 3 also saw darkhorse Ryan Hipwood (AUS) secure the third place position over top seeds Pedro Calado (BRA), Trevor Carlson (HAW) and Nic Lamb (USA).

Lucas Chianca (BRA) won the last heat of the day to close out Round 1. The Brazilian’s 20.50 heat total included outstanding maneuvers to vault him into the Semis. World No. 2 Jamie Mitchell (AUS) will join Chianca in the Semifinals, along with Albee Layer (HAW).

Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF) was not able to make the call time for his Round 1 heat and was replaced by Corzo in Round 1 Heat 1. Shane Dorian (HAW) withdrew from the event due to a back injury and was replaced by Couto.

Tomorrow’s call will be at 7:30 a.m. for a possible 8:00 a.m. HST start.

Danilo Couto of Brazil advances to the semifinals after placing second in round one heat 21 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge

Surfline, Official Forecasters for the 2017/2018 WSL BWT season are calling for:

The long period NW swell that filled in throughout the afternoon should peak during the early morning hours on Saturday based on the data we’ve seen on the Northwest Hawaii buoy (about a half day indicator for Jaws). Saturday will see an easing trend in surf, although the early morning hours should offer strong surf in the 25-35’ range on the face, with the max sets pushing 40’+. Wind should be quite light in the morning, with light to moderate NE trades developing in the later morning and especially for the afternoon.

The Pe’ahi Challenge will be broadcast LIVE tomorrow via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL’s Facebook page. Also check local listings for coverage on CBS Sports Network in the U.S., Fox Sports in Australia, ESPN in Brazil, Sky NZ in New Zealand, SFR Sports in France and Portugal, Sport TV in Portugal and the EDGEsport Network.

Due to safety and environmental concerns, there is no location available for on-site spectating for the Pe’ahi Challenge. Big wave surfing fans are invited to watch the event on the live webcast that will feature close-in angles, slow-motion replays, and analysis. For those on Maui, viewing parties will be held at Charley’s Restaurant at 142 Hana Highway, Paia, HI 96779 (808-579-8085) and at Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club Bar and Grill at 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy #A1 Lahaina, HI 96761.

2017/18 BWT Men’s Pe’ahi Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Billy Kemper (HAW) 21.51, Cristian Merello (CHL) 19.94, Mark Healey (HAW) 18.83, Koa Rothman (HAW) 17.84, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 11.37, Jimel Corzo (MEX) 0.20
Heat 2: Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 17.27, Danilo Couto (BRA) 14.84, Greg Long (USA) 13.94, Will Skudin (USA) 10.71, Tom Lowe (GBR) 7.54, Aaron Gold (HAW) 3.20
Heat 3: Ian Walsh (HAW) 26.13, Kai Lenny (HAW) 19.37, Ryan Hipwood (AUS) 15.03, Pedro Calado (BRA) 14.71, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 13.57, Nic Lamb (USA) 0.20
Heat 4: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 20.50, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 17.87, Albee Layer (HAW) 12.41, Joao De Macedo (PRT) 11.64, Nathan Florence (HAW) 9.34, Shaun Walsh (HAW) 3.54

2017/18 BWT Men’s Pe’ahi Challenge Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Billy Kemper (HAW), Cristian Merello (CHL), Mark Healey (HAW), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Danilo Couto (BRA), Greg Long (USA)
SF 2: Ian Walsh (HAW), Kai Lenny (HAW), Ryan Hipwood (AUS), Lucas Chianca (BRA), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Albee Layer (HAW)

2017/18 BWT Women’s Pe’ahi Challenge Final Match-Up:
Final: Paige Alms (HAW) Justine Dupont (FRA), Andrea Moeller (BRA), Keala Kennelly (HAW), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Bianca Valenti (USA)

Greg Long of USA advances to the semifinals after placing third in round one heat 21 of the 2017 wsl peahi challenge