Maui’s Paige Alms Claims WSL Big Wave Tour Women’s Title
With the conclusion of the 2016/2017 World Surf League Big Wave Tour, Paige Alms of Haʻikū, Maui claimed the WSL BWT women’s title during and official announcement on Tuesday.
Alms made history on Nov. 11, 2016 when she won the Peʻahi Challenge to become the first ever Big Wave Women’s Champion. She scored the best waves of the 60-minute final and won the event over 12 international competitors, including fellow Hawaiʻi athletes Keala Kennelly (Kauaʻi) and Emi Erickson (Oʻahu).
“Being the first Big Wave Women’s Champion at Peʻahi is an amazing feeling,” Alms told the WSL. “I am stoked to be able to put that notch on my belt. I am happy to be an ambassador for the sport and for women in surfing. That was a win for women’s surfing and a win for the Maui community. It wasn’t just a win for me.”
Alms started charging big waves at the age of 15. The WSL notes that Alms’ career has been self-supported through juggling multiple jobs to fund her travel and training.
“Every session we have for big wave surfing for men or women [means] the sport is being progressed,” said Alms. “For female big wave surfing, the more opportunities that we have like that in an empty line up, the more you’re going to see the best big wave women doing the best big wave surfing. I am really looking forward to seeing what the WSL has in store for next year. This is just the beginning and this was one contest. I think we are going to look back in ten years and say, ‘remember that time?’ I think the possibilities are endless.”
2016/17 Women’s WSL Big Wave Tour Top 5:
1 – Paige Alms (HAW) 12,500 points
2 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 10,416 points
3 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 8,680 points
4 – Emily Erickson (HAW) 6,029 points
4 – Keala Kennelly (HAW) 6,029 points
4 – Laura Enever (AUS) 6,029 points
Meantime, South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker won the Men’s WSL BWT title, marking his second BWT title clinching, after securing his first in 2013.
2016/17 Men’s WSL Big Wave Tour Top 5:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 25,018 points
2 – Pedro Calado (BRA) 21,943
3 – Greg Long (USA) 21,921 points
4 – Carlos Burle (BRA) 18,175
5 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 15,690