Pe'ahi Challenge

Kai Lenny Wins Pe'ahi GoPro Challenge

Paula Lehman

The Pe'ahi Challenge, the first WSL paddle-in contest at Maui's famous big wave break, was a stunning event. And as if charging the 50-to-60-foot waves wasn't enough, some competitors upped the ante, attaching GoPros to their boards and submitting videos to the special contest-within-a-contest, the Pe'ahi GoPro Challenge. The big winner? Maui local Kai Lenny. Although he was eliminated in the Semifinals of the main event, his winning video earned him a cool $10,000.

Lenny's Pe'ahi Bonus
The Maui local captured the incredible conditions during the Pe'ahi Challenge for a winning clip.

The GoPro Challenge asks competing World Surf League (WSL) athletes to submit their own GoPro videos from the competition venue and surrounding areas, with clips accepted starting two days prior to the contest window and no later than the conclusion of the event. The Challenge at Pe'ahi was the first GoPro contest at a Big Wave Tour (BWT) venue and it did not fail to impress.

The winning video was selected by a panel of five judges -- three from the WSL staff and two from GoPro -- based on cinematography, degree of difficulty of shooting, perspective and overall beauty and lighting. Each requirement held equal weight.

GoPro Challenge Explained
The GoPro Challenge kicked off for 2015 during the Men's and Women's Fiji Pro.

Not only did Lenny win the first BWT GoPro Challenge, he is also the first to capture the winning clip during competition. Because of the nature of the event, in which in-competition waves would be the primary opportunities to get waves there, submissions were invited from the event only, with one level of prize money. (This format is in contrast to Championship Tour events, in which surfers can submit videos from freesurfs and/or competition heats, with two levels of prize money allotted.)

Want to know how to shoot winning clips? Check out this tutorial.

Lenny was one of three surfers during the Pe'ahi Challenge to enter the contest within the contest. Here the other nominees:

Healey's Backhand Stoke
Mark Healey is all smiles when he drives down the face of a Pe'ahi bomb in his first GoPro Challenge entry.
Dorian On the Edge
Shane Dorian stays just ahead of the tumbling lip on a Pe'ahi gem in his second GoPro Challenge entry.
Curtains for Gudauskas
Patrick Gudauskas finds the perfect takeoff spot for some tube time in his first Pe'ahi GoPro Challenge entry.

The final GoPro Challenge of the season is already unfolding, with the men and women of the Championship Tours (CT) submitting footage from Hawaii. Check out all the submissions here.