Maui News

Pe‘ahi Challenge is ON! Maui’s Kemper Attempts 3-Peat

October 27, 2017, 8:31 AM HST
* Updated October 27, 11:59 AM
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The Peʻahi Challenge is ON!  The event started at 12 p.m. HST today, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 after two hours on standby.  Contest organizers anticipate 40-50 foot waves today and tomorrow.

Paige Alms in round one of 2016 event. PC: File photo by Lyle Krannichfeld

“The Northern Hawaiian buoys are showing a building long period swell expected to arrive midday,” said Mike Parsons, WSL BWT Commissioner. “Competitors will be in position at the iconic Maui break at 10:30 a.m. Hawaiʻi Time and will be on standby to start as conditions warrant. We hope to hold all four men’s Round 1 heats in an hour-long format today, should conditions maintain quality.

“All remaining men’s and women’s heats will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 a.m. HST. Our goal is to take advantage of the swell that is expected to be full power through the first half of the day. Based on this schedule, another four hours of competition should complete the Peʻahi Challenge by the middle of the day.”

Surfline, Official Forecasters for the 2017/2018 WSL BWT season are calling for:

Very long period swell has been building on the Northwest Hawaiʻi buoy- around half day from Jaws- since Thursday night and is a good indication that our swell is on track. We expect things to be slow through most of the morning, but gradually building. We should see a more pronounced building trend around midday with the surf continuing to build through the afternoon and evening. Look for building face heights in the 25-35’ range over the afternoon, with max sets of 40-50’ faces late today. Light NNE/NE wind is expected this afternoon as the swell builds.


Surf size should hold into early Saturday morning, with a gradual trend down during the morning hours. A more pronounced fade is expected from midday on. Light ENE trades Saturday morning will build to light to moderate levels in the afternoon.


The event premiered on the Big Wave Tour in 2015 and has witnessed Maui’s own Billy Kemper dominating the Men’s challenge since its induction.  This year he has his eye on a hat-trick as the contests lone defending champion.

Meantime, Maui’s Paige Alms claimed the inaugural women’s event last year.

Due to safety and environmental concerns, the event site is closed to spectators.


Fans are encouraged to watch the event online at and at viewing parties being held at Charley’s Restaurant at 142 Hāna Highway in Pāʻia and at Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club Bar and Grill at 1221 Honoapiʻilani Hwy #A1.  It can also be viewed on CBS, Spectrum 1250.

2017/18 BWT Men’s Pe’ahi Challenge Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: 
Grant Baker (ZAF), Billy Kemper (HAW), Cristian Merello (CHL), Francisco Porcella (ITA), Koa Rothman (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW)
Heat 2: Greg Long (USA), Will Skudin (USA), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Tom Lowe (GBR), Aaron Gold (HAW), Shane Dorian (HAW)
Heat 3: Pedro Calado (BRA), Nic Lamb (USA), Kai Lenny (HAW), Trevor Carlson (HAW), Ryan Hipwood (AUS), Ian Walsh (HAW)
Heat 4: Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Joao De Macedo (PRT), Nathan Florence (HAW), Shaun Walsh (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW)

2017/18 BWT Women’s Pe’ahi Challenge Final Match-Up:
Paige Alms (HAW) Justine Dupont (FRA), Andrea Moeller (BRA), Keala Kennelly (HAW), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Bianca Valenti (USA)

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