NewsPe'ahi Women's Challenge

Pe'ahi Challenge Now Set for Friday; Heat Draws Announced

The next call for the Pe'ahi Challenge has been updated as of Wednesday, November 9.

Winter Is Coming
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The Pe'ahi Challenge in Haiku, Hawaii, is now on Green Alert, and could potentially run starting at 7 a.m. local time Friday, November 11, with a massive swell heading toward the region. The event's previous first call was for Thursday afternoon, but has since been pushed back.

Billy Kemper (HAW), air-dropping at Pe'ahi in the first heat of the day. he went on to sweep the field and move on to the Semis. Billy Kemper's gritty performance during last year's inaugural Pe'ahi Challenge earned him the win. WSL / Kelly Cestari

"We have been tracking a storm from the Pacific Northwest and anticipate a promising swell to deliver for our first BWT event of the Northern Hemisphere season," said Peter Mel, WSL BWT Commissioner, when the Thursday call was first announced. "We are calling the Pe'ahi Challenge on, for a possible start Thursday afternoon, with swell expected to hold through Friday. We expect 30-foot-plus waves with favorable winds and tides."

Pe'ahi Challenge 8 Pe'ahi is a spectacle from any angle. WSL / Richard Hallman

The Pe'ahi Challenge will be contested by 24 men, led by current rankings leader Grant Baker, from South Africa, reigning BWT Champion Greg Long, from California, and defending event winner Billy Kemper, from Hawaii.

Greg Long's Pe'ahi Barrel
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Long said that this massive wave, which he caught during the 2015 Pe'ahi Challenge, was one of the best of his life.

In addition, for the first time in WSL Big Wave Tour history, 12 of the world's best female big-wave surfers will compete at Pe'ahi for the first-ever women's title there.

"We're incredibly proud to be introducing a women's event this season," Mel continued. "These ladies as some of the most dedicated, passionate and talented big-wave surfers on the planet. It will be phenomenal to witness them tackle Pe'ahi."

Paige Alms vs. Pe'ahi
Maui local Paige Alms won a Big Wave Award for catching perhaps the biggest tube in history at her home break of Pe'ahi. On Thursday, she could become one of the first women to compete in a contest there.

Also known as "Jaws," Pe'ahi is on the northern coastline of Maui and can produce waves that are upwards of 60 feet. The first-ever edition of the event premiered on the Big Wave Tour last winter with exceptional performances in epic conditions. All eyes will be on Pe'ahi this year to see the top-ranked BWT surfers take on the giant conditions.

Surfline, official forecasters for the 2016/17 WSL BWT season are calling for the following:
Another strong winter storm is currently sliding across the Bering Sea/Aleutians, packing a good fetch for Hawaii with wind speeds up to 35-50kts. Meanwhile, the same storm that pushed out the current NNW pulse is still holding a fetch aimed at the Islands, but now located up in the Gulf of Alaska.

Albee Layer (HAW) charges during the Final for the inaugural Pe'ahi Challenge. Albee Layer, another Maui local, finished runner-up last year at the first Pe'ahi Challenge. This time around, he may see if he can do one better. WSL / Kelly Cestari

The 2016/17 BWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components hosting three possible events within each. The Southern Hemisphere window ran from April 27 to August 31, 2016 with event options in Mexico, Chile and Peru. The Puerto Escondido Challenge was the only event to run and saw Baker claim victory. The Northern Hemisphere window runs from October 15, 2016 to February 28, 2017 with event options in Portugal, Hawaii and Mexico.

Pe'ahi Challenge Men's Field:

  • Greg Long (USA)
  • Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
  • Billy Kemper (HAW)
  • Nic Lamb (USA)
  • Josh Kerr (AUS)
  • Albee Layer (HAW)
  • Carlos Burle (BRA)
  • Damien Hobgood (USA)
  • Cristian Merello (CHL)
  • Mark Healey (HAW)
  • Grant Baker (ZAF)

Performer of the year BWA Invites:

  • Shane Dorian (HAW)
  • Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
  • Aaron Gold (HAW)
  • Kai Lenny (HAW)

WSL Wildcards:

  • TBA
  • TBA
  • TBA

Pe'ahi Event Wildcards:

  • Ian Walsh (HAW)
  • Shaun Walsh (HAW)
  • Tyler Larronde (HAW)
  • Yuri Soledade (HAW)
  • Dege O'Connell (HAW)
  • Francisco Porcella (ITA)

Pe'ahi Challenge, Finalized Men's Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Greg Long (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Cristian Merello (CHL), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Tyler Larronde (HAW)

Heat 2: Billy Kemper (HAW), Carlos Burle (BRA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Kai Lenny (HAW), Ian Walsh (HAW), Dege O'Connell (HAW)

Heat 3: Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Aaron Gold (HAW), Will Skudin (USA), Yuri Soledade (HAW)

Heat 4: Nic Lamb (USA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Shane Dorian (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Shaun Walsh (HAW), Francisco Porcella (HAW)

Pe'ahi Challenge Women's Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Keala Kennelly (HAW), Andrea Moller (BRA), Emily Erickson (HAW), Justine Dupont (FRA), Silvia Nabuco (BRA), Polly Ralda (GTM)

Heat 2: Paige Alms (HAW), Bianca Valenti (USA), Jamilah Star (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF)

If the events run, catch the men's and women's Pe'ahi Challenge contests live on the WSL website and app starting Friday, Nov. 11.

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