Los Angeles, CA/USA (Wednesday, February 24, 2021) Today, WSL Studios (the World Surf League's studio arm) launched the first episode of ‘BILLY', a six-part series that follows the healing journey of World Champion Big Wave surfer, Billy Kemper. The surfer was severely injured on a surf trip to Morocco with fellow surfers Koa Smith and Luke Davis in February 2020, and had to battle for his life while trying to get back home as international borders started to shut down due to the pandemic. The following five episodes will be released weekly, every Sunday at WorldSurfLeague.com.
"I feel that ‘BILLY' is one of the most compelling pieces of content that the WSL has ever produced," said Ryan Holcomb, Executive Vice President of WSL Studios. "The series gives fans an exclusive, unfiltered look into Kemper's remarkable story, and it's reflective of WSL Studios' commitment to invest in epic stories about the stars of our sport. This series humanizes one of surfing's modern superheroes in such a unique way - and it is riveting from beginning to end."
Kemper, the four-time Jaws event winner and 2018 WSL Big Wave World Champion, flew to Morocco in early 2020 chasing dream waves. During the final wave of a 10-hour surf session, Kemper suffered a life-threatening injury. He suffered multiple injuries including a broken pelvis, a lung infection, and a shattered knee, and faced unforeseen challenges trying to get back home due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That day will probably be remembered as one of the best days of surfing in my lifetime," said Kemper. "I was having a great time with my friends when my entire life turned upside down in a matter of seconds. From that moment on, all I cared about was to stay alive and get back to my family."
"Whether it is riding big waves, winning world titles, or coming home from work, a family is what will motivate you and push you more than anything in the world," continued Kemper. "I wouldn't be back in the water doing what I love if it wasn't for my wife, my boys, my brother. All of my friends and family who helped me stand again, who surrounded and supported me along the way. You get what you give."
The episodes, directed by Layne Stratton, show Kemper's fight to survive, the journey back home, and the road to recovery. The series also revisits Kemper's history, including his early life, upbringing, competitive successes and the power of family and community in his life.
All ‘BILLY' episodes will be available at WorldSurLeague.com, on Outside TV, and on WSL's YouTube channel, and available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Japanese.
The ‘BILLY' series is proudly supported by REEF, A_SHOC Performance Energy, RVCA, and Outside TV.