(World Surf League) - Two-time Pe‘ahi Challenge winner and Sunset expert Billy Kemper (HAW) bested a field of 112 competitors Tuesday for the win at the Sunset Open in an all-Hawaii Final that saw Maui athletes Ian Gentil and Ian Walsh take second and third respectively, and Barron Mamiya (HAW) in fourth. A World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 event, the Sunset Open is the first of the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Region 2018 season and sees Kemper earn the lead on the rankings.
“To kick off the year like this, it feels absolutely amazing,” commented Kemper post-awards presentation. “I put just as much time out at Sunset as anyone and I’m just really stoked to end up on top. 1,000 or 10,000, for us here in Hawaii this means everything and I’m really stoked and grateful.”
It was a nail-biting Final and Kemper had a strong opening ride to set the pace, a 7.67 for a mixed bag of power turns, then maintained first throughout the 30-minute heat. He continued to strengthen his lead with an 8.27 after finding a barrel off the point and then tallied another 7.30 throw-away score. Kemper’s decades of experience surfing the big wave break was a key component to today’s win.
“I think two of my scores were under their (competitor's) priority and I feel like that was just Sunset Point knowledge,” Kemper continued. “I moved over here when I was eight years old and I graduated from Shores to Vals to Sunset Point to Sunset, so this event was really cool because we got a mix of everything. We started at Big Sunset, went to west reef Sunset and ended up at 3-4ft. Sunset Point, really high-performance surfing.”
The WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region now shifts its focus to Pipeline for the Men’s QS3,000, the Volcom Pipe Pro. With a holding window from January 29 – February 10, contest organizers and officials are anticipating more excellent swell to hit the North Shore with a target on the new WNW direction for Tuesday, January 30. For more updates, visit WorldSurfLeague.com and be sure to check out the Sunset Open event page for the competition highlights.
Surfers shown in order of 1st through 4th, all athletes from Hawaii unless otherwise noted.
1st – Billy Kemper, 15.94
2nd – Ian Gentil, 15.70
3rd – Ian Walsh, 13.64
4th – Barron Mamiya, 7.93
Semifinals (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 5th place, 4th = 7th place)
SF1: Billy Kemper, Barron Mamiya, O’Neill Massin (PYF), Eliott Napias (PYF)
SF2: Ian Gentil, Ian Walsh, Jack Robinson (AUS), Olamana Eleogram
Quarterfinals (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 9th place, 4th = 13th place)
QF1: O’Neill Massin (PYF), Billy Kemper, Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Adrian Garcia (PER)
QF2: Barron Mamiya, Eliott Napias (PYF), Keoni Yan, Elijah Gates
QF3: Ian Walsh, Ian Gentil, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA), Finn McGill
QF4: Jack Robinson (AUS), Olamana Eleogram, Kekoa Cazimero, Nathan Florence
Round of 32 (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 17 place, 4th = 25th place)
H1: Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Eliott Napias (PYF), Andrew Jacobson, Sunny Garcia
H2: Adrian Garcia (PER), Elijah Gates, Wyatt McHale, Kai Lenny
H3: Keoni Yan, Billy Kemper, Kyle Ramey, Koa Rothman
H4: Barron Mamiya, O’Neill Massin (PYF), Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), Kaito Kino
H5: Ian Gentil, Olamana Eleogram, Liam O’Brien (AUS), Makai McNamara
H6: Finn McGill, Kekoa Cazimero, Ulualoha Napeahi, Evan Valiere
H7: Jack Robinson (AUS), Tristan Guilbaud (FRA), Eala Stewart, Martin Jeri (PER)
H8: Nathan Florence, Ian Walsh, Joshua Moniz, Imaikalani deVault
Round of 64 (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 33rd place, 4th = 49th place)
H14: Eala Stewart, Nathan Florence, Mason Ho, Eli Hanneman
H15: Joshua Moniz, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA), Ezra Sitt, Kaimana Jaquias
H16: Imaikalani deVault, Martin Jeri (PER), Sebastian Correa (PER), Isaac Stant