BY JODI WILMOTT – Sunset Beach, HAWAII – (November 5, 2010) — Maui’s Billy Kemper, 20, posted the largest win of his fledgling pro surfing career when he won the HIC Pro, presented by Vans, at Sunset Beach today. The victory also netted him the 2010 ASP Hawaii regional pro title and a start in next week’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Kemper surfed a total of four times today and survived a close final tussle in inconsistent 10- to 12-foot surf to claim the $12,000 winner’s check.
Runner-up in the “new school” final was Australia’s Jack Perry, 26; third was Keanu Asing, 17, from Ewa Beach, Oahu; and fourth was Kauai’s Alex Smith, 19.
Compared to the earlier rounds of the day, the 35-minute high-tide affected final was somewhat wave starved and even the best rides offered only average scores. The morning’s quality and highest scoring rides gave way to a declining swell and unpredictability. Kemper’s winning score was testament to that: 9.0 out of a possible 20 points.
“Hands down, this is the biggest win of my career,” said Kemper, who is from Paia and prior to now was best known for his giant wave riding at Maui’s outer reefs.
“I wasn’t even thinking about winning today, or the ASP Hawaii title. I had a really weird feeling this morning when I woke up, my mind was on Andy and my brother. I want to dedicate this to Andy and my brother, Eric Diaz, who died in 1998 and was one of Andy’s good friends.
“I moved over here to Sunset when I was eight years old to watch my brother when he was a pro, competing out here at Sunset with Andy. I’m speechless to be here now, winning, today. This past year surfing Jaws I got voted into the XXL awards which was my highlight up to now, but this takes over.
“I don’t have a sponsor right now so this last year I’ve just been focused on competing in Hawaii.”
The HIC Pro was the final ASP Hawaii regional event of 2010. Next up on the $1.1 million Hawaiian winter surf schedule is the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing set to begin at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park on November 12.
Surfers from Hawaii unless noted otherwise.
Surfers listed in order of 1st through 4th. 1st & 2nd in each heat advance.
1. Billy Kemper, 20, Paia, Maui, Hawaii $12,000 – 9.0 points heat total
2. Jack Perry, Victoria, Australia $6,000 – 8.35 points
3. Keanu Asing, 17, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii $4,000 – 7.35 point
4. Alex Smith, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii $3,000 – 4.78
H1: Alex Smith; Jack Perry (Aus); Marcus Hickman; Gavin Gillette
H2: Billy Kemper; Keanu Asing; Joel Centeio; Kawai Lindo
H1: Marcus Hickman; Gavin Gillette; Kevin Sullivan; Pacho Sullivan
H2: Jack Perry (Aus); Alex Smith; Evan Valiere; Jason Shibata
H3: Kawai Lindo; Keanu Asing; Makai McNamara; Clay Marzo
H4: Billy Kemper; Joel Centeio; Matt Pagan; Gregg Nakamura