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Walsh and Alms surf to victories in Pe’ahi Challenge

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COURTESY WORLD SURFING LEAGUE / RICHARD HALLMAN

Ian Walsh of Maui, Hawaii has secured his maiden win on the Big Wave Tour by winning the final of the Pe’ahi Challenge at Pe’ahi/Jaws, Maui.

Ian Walsh of Haiku, Maui, captured the Pe‘ahi Challenge in 25- to 35-foot wave faces today at Pe‘ahi, Maui.

Walsh scored 21.67 points in the victory, ending Billy Kemper’s bid at a third straight title. Kemper, who is also from Haiku, finished second, followed by Makuakai Rothman of Oahu’s North Shore in third, Kai Lennny of Paia, Maui, in fourth, Greg Long of San Clemente, Calif., in fifth, and Ryan Hipwood of Australia in sixth.

The contest, which is part of the World Surf League’s Big Wave Tour, is held at the Pe‘ahi surf break, which is also knwn as Jaws.

Lenny is the top-ranked surfer on the Big Wave Tour, and Rothman, who is No. 4 in the tour standings, is in the running for his second Big Wave world championship to go along with the one he earned in 2015. Kemper is No. 2 and Walsh No. 3 in the rankings with one event remaining the Nazare Challenge in Nazare Leiria, Portugal.

In the women’s Pe‘ahi Challenge, which took place directly following the men’s event, Paige Alms — yet another Haiku surfer — won her second straight title at the event. Keala Kennelly of Hanalei, Kauai, placed second.

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