When Billy Kemper says that opening day at Jaws was "absolutely pumping with perfect conditions" it's fair to say what he knows what he's talking about. Back in fighting form at his favorite wave on the planet, winter has arrived early in Hawaii, and if this is any indication of what's to come, we could be in for a hell of a ride during the 2021/2022 big-wave season.
With the first series of North Pacific swells hammering the Islands earlier this week, Jaws roared to life as all the usual suspects were on it. Kemper bagged a bunch of clean bombs, but the barrel he scored is by far one of the highlights of the session. Setting up super deep, with one pump off the bottom he drives into a cavern and comes out with the spit, making it all look way too easy.
Francisco Porcella found a heavy backhand barrel that he won't soon be forgetting. A frontside barrel at Jaws is one thing, but to pull in on the backhand takes a whole level of insanity. Of course, that's exactly what Porcella lives for.
Then there was Kai Lenny, who made one of the crazier gender announcements -- which is saying a lot considering what some people do. Expecting twins with his partner Molly Payne, Lenny was wiped into a wave at Jaws while pulling the pin on a pink smoke bomb. Evidently they're having girls.
Over on Oahu, big-wave chargers enjoyed opening day at Waimea Bay. While most spots on the North Shore were too big during the peak of the swell, there were definitely some lumps coming through at the Bay. Perhaps the most hectic moment came when a crew on an outrigger canoe stroked into a few waves. In a feat showcasing supreme Hawaiian waterman abilities, they successfully navigated the drop -- and the crowd -- getting plenty of cheers and wild looks from those in the channel.
The the swell sorted itself out a little bit there was a window at Off The Wall and Pipe that provided some opportunities. Nathan Florence was one of the standouts. From a tandem tube with Jamie O'Brien to taking some lumps at Pipe, he provided more evidence that it's time to shift our collective gave to what's happening in Hawaii right now.
The Haleiwa Challenger kicks off on November 26. The final event of the 2021 Challenger Series, the remaining spots for the 2022 Championship Tour will be decided.