On the first day of competition, with the surf still rising, professional women competed. Dangerous sets continued to build bigger and bigger. The Women did well to survive.
Conditions were very dangerous when men entered the water. Billy Kemper took a horrible wipe out, surfacing after inflating his vest. He appeared lifeless as jet ski crews, pulled him out of the water. Billy Kemper lost consciousness while held under. The contest was postponed.
Kai Lenny jumped on his tow board and altered all beliefs on what is possible.
The next day competition resumed. The swell dropped a bit as the wind increased throughout the day. The winds increased over 30 mph, affecting all competitors. Riders were blown off waves or held up until they were airborne.
Competitors had difficulty penetrating the strong wind accelerating up the face of the wave. Heavier boards and riders had a slight advantage. Weight and paddling strength may be factors affecting performance. With a heavier the board, the wind has less probability of driving a board off its track. There is a trade off for control. A heavier board is much more difficult to maneuver.
Weight gives only an initial advantage. Weight works against a rider when he hits chop or wave trough with speed. At high speed these chops may feel as hard as asphalt speed bumps, to a flat hulled surfboard. At low speed the flat bottom can move water out of its path without disruption. At high speed flat bows create lift, by design. Water cannot move out of the speeding board's path fast enough, therefore; it produces hydrodynamic resistance or lift. Lift pushes against the nose rocker bend and abruptly decelerates the board. A surfer will have difficulty remaining on his feet when he hits chop or wave face at high speed. A round or vee hull pushes chop aside and cushions impact. Below is a remake of a big wave gun from the past.
Watch this epic ride from the past, Greg Noll, a heavy rider, on a heavy board with a round hull. Modern surfboards are, of course better, old boards just handled chop more efficiently.
After surviving a near drowning, Billy Kemper won the event. A true testament to his commitment and hard work. This is his third win and most challenging.
Videos from youtube contest coverage produced by WSL