Stab Magazine | Can No One Beat Billy Kemper Or Paige Alms At Jaws?

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Can No One Beat Billy Kemper Or Paige Alms At Jaws?

History says mostly yes! 

news // Dec 13, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Billy Kemper is in a league of his own. With wave heights topping 50 feet, he has claimed his fourth Jaws title. The trophy is nice, the payday even better, but it’s how Billy did it that speak volumes about the big-wave surfer he has evolved into.

Billy’s been rattling cages all winter. Like a fuse, he began the slow burn at Haleiwa, where he put together sound heats. At the Pipe Invitational he continued to heat up, and on the opening day of the Pipe Masters the blood really started to flow. He paced it absolutely perfect. By the time he got to Jaws he was hot. 

Russell Bierke made the opening statement to start the day at Jaws, hoisting an 8.33 on one of the first waves ridden. After his last video drop, could this be Bierke’s time on the big-time stage? 

It certainly wasn’t Jamie Mitchell’s turn. He spent the heat falling from the sky and getting smoked in the opening heat. It took some contemplation in the channel post heat to settle the nerves. 

Kemper snuck through his opening heat in the third position. During the heat Albee Layer went down hard, resulting in a severe concussion.

“I got a very bad concussion from the lip or second bounce after I’m not sure,” explained Layer on Insta later in the day. “My vest zipper broke and opened up underwater which made it pretty hard to swim up but luckily I got it inflated first. I spent about 10 minutes throwing up then borrowed a vest from Sean Lopez and went out to try one more but after paddling hard over a wave I started seeing stars again and began puking more. Figured it was time to call it. I’m still gagging on and off but feel a little better after an ice bath. My left hip is pretty messed up but feels just like pulled muscles.”

With the swell pulsing on and off, and periodic 30-knot winds, it was as serious a day at Jaws as any. While Nathan Florence was letting his mullet fly, playing it cool in Round 2, Kemper conserved energy and slid through in second place. 

Then it was the women’s turn to hit the lineup. Felicity Palmateer was the star of Round 1. After getting blown up by one wave, she pulled the ripcord of her vest and had to spend some time in the channel swapping out gear—which proved to be a good thing as a huge set rolled through and mowed down all the other ladies in her heat.

But like the hard-charging, Jaws loc dog that she is, Paige Alms was the star of the final. Taking the lead on an early six-point ride, she never looked back. Palmateer gave it a hell of a run, but ultimately had to settle for second. She’s now won the comp three times.

The men’s final was a heated affair. Kemper threw down the gauntlet in the opening minutes with the highest scoring wave of the heat, a 7.83. It could have ended there, game, set, match. 

Ian Walsh responded with a couple of well-ridden bombs of his own, but unable to get deep into the barrel, he found himself a point behind Kemper when it was done and dusted. Nathan Florence rolled into third and Kai Lenny was competitive in fourth. 

The duo of Kemper and Alms have cemented themselves as the best of the best at Jaws. To win the contest once is one thing, to win it twice is special, but to take three and four titles out there, it’s next level good.

It’s historic. 


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