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Billy Kemper On a Roll with Big Wave Brilliance

November 29, 2018, 9:09 AM HST · Updated November 29, 9:09 AM
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Sunset Beach lined up with ideal conditions today, providing Round 2 athletes with highly contestable wave canvases. Credit: © WSL / Heff

Three-time Jaws Challenge winner and World Surf League Big Wave World Champion Billy Kemper (HAW) jumped from a big victory on Maui on Tuesday to another strong result at the Vans World Cup of Surfing on Wednesday, garnering yet another standout performance at Sunset Beach.

On Day 1 of competition, Kemper scored the first perfect 10 of the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and took that momentum to Maui, where he dropped into 50-foot waves at Pe‘ahi to ultimately win his third event title.

Kemper’s power surfing is an ideal match for Sunset Beach’s consistent, deep-water waves. Credit: © WSL / Heff

“Leaving here with a 10 my first heat back on the North Shore after an injury, it was a huge confidence boost,” Kemper said after today’s heat win. “I felt like I just carried that momentum straight in and caught a couple waves at Jaws that will stick with me the rest of my life and ended up winning. And I’m right back here with the same mentality and same goal — just take it heat by heat and just keep chipping away.”

On Wednesday, Kemper advanced in first out of an intense Heat 9, which saw Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) progress while Jake Marshall (USA) and Benji Brand (HAW) suffered disappointing losses. In the final minute of the heat, all four surfers jumped on one last wave to shake up the standings and leave fans in anticipation of scores.

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Marshall needed a 5.88 to move into Round 3, however judges scored his final ride just shy, a 5.50, after he came unstuck on his ending maneuver. Kemper’s best wave of the heat, a 6.40, earned him a strong lead after backing it up with a 4.77.

“This is day four of competition for me and it feels great,” Kemper continued. “I think when you put your mind to something and you put in a bunch of work, this is the test. It’s all working, it’s all come together. I’m just really enjoying it and having fun. I’ve got my kids, my wife down here, my friends, family, and it’s fun, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”

Rivaling Kemper’s perfect 10-point ride was Josh Moniz’s barrel of the day during Heat 13, an impressive 9.83 for a late drop into a heaving 12 foot wave. Moniz pushed through the barrel as it closed, then continued with a gouge on the open face and power carve in the pocket to complete the ride successfully. His earlier score of a 6.33 meant he had a commanding lead and his 16.16 combined two-wave total tallied among the top in the event thus far.

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“Before I paddled out, the wind shot so offshore (the waves) are actually barreling off the top which is super rare,” said Moniz. “The first set that swung under us had a super good look to it and I was like, ‘Oh the next one might throw.’ It came up and it had a perfect little double up to it. I just slowed my paddle down because I knew I’d get into. Just pulled in and came out.”

The second-best wave score of the Vans World Cup, Moniz put the stamp of excellence on this ride with two solid turns after emerging from the barrel. Credit: © WSL / Keoki

Moniz’s younger brother, Seth Moniz (HAW), just qualified for the 2019 Championship Tour after a Semifinal finish at the first event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Hawaiian Prol.

Tanner Gudauskas (USA) went against Brazil’s Caio Ibelli, who advanced in second, and Sunset notables Shayden Pacarro (HAW) from Oʻahu and Imaikalani deVault (HAW) of Maui.

“It was definitely good to get a decent wave,” said Freestone. “I feel like I kind of deserve one, my last few heats out here, I surfed the HIC (Pro) and you can just get lost so easily out there. I knew exactly what I was looking for, but sometimes Sunset doesn’t even let you get a second wave so, I was just glad it came through even though it was in the last 30 seconds.”

Surfline, the official forecast partner of the VTCS, is calling for the current/fading NW swell to continue to back down over the next couple of days. Thursday morning could see head high waves, however onshore winds will make for unfavorable conditions in the declining surf. A new WNW swell is expected for the weekend along with a large, long period swell from the NW toward the end of the holding window.

The second event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Vans World Cup of Surfing, has a holding window from Nov. 25 to Dec. 6 and will take place at Sunset Beach.  Each event of the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will run on the four best days of surf within the event’s holding window.

LIVE streaming is available on WorldSurfLeague.com, VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com, Facebook.com/wsllive and the WSL and Facebook apps (Facebook login required for mobile viewing). Or tune into Spectrum SURF Channel, which will televise the action LIVE and in replay on digital channels 20 and 1020HD, across the state of Hawaiʻi.

2018 Vans World Cup of Surfing Results
Athletes listed in 1st through 4th place

Round 2 (1st and 2nd advanced, 3rd = 65th place, 4th = 81st place
H1: Charly Martin (FRA), Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Evan Valiere (HAW)
H2: Soli Bailey (AUS), Gatien Delahaye (FRA), Reo Inaba (JPN), Nat Young (USA)
H3: Kalani Ball (AUS), Jack Robinson (AUS), Skip McCullough (USA), Adin Masencamp (ZAF)
H4: Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Kainehe Hunt (HAW), Barron Mamiya (HAW), Jacob Willcox (AUS)
H5: Jack Freestone (AUS), Carlos Munoz (CRI), Luel Felipe (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
H6: Lucas Silveira (BRA), Michael February (ZAF), Hiroto Ohhaara (JPN), Davey Cathels (AUS)
H7: Alonso Correa (PER), Aritz Aranburu (ESP), Finn McGill (HAW), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
H8: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Noa Mizuno (HAW), Evan Geiselman (USA)
H9: Billy Kemper (HAW), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Jake Marshall (USA), Benji Brand (HAW)
H10: Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Shayden Pacarro (HAW), Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
H11: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), Matt Banting (AUS), Mason Ho (HAW), Keanu Asing (HAW)
H12: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), Thiago Camarao (BRA), David Van Zyl (ZAF)
H13: Joshua Moniz (HAW), Bino Lopes (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Wyatt McHale (HAW)
H14: Ian Crane (USA), Michael O’Shaughnessy (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW), Cam Richards (USA)
H15: Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Wesslley Dantas (BRA), Mateus Herdy (BRA), Jackson Baker (AUS)
H16: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Liam O’Brien (AUS), Luke Shepardson (HAW)

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