Ian Walsh: going for it at Jaws | Photo: Heff/WSL

Ian Walsh and Paige Alms have taken out the 2017 Peahi Challenge, in Maui, Hawaii.

The second event on the Big Wave Tour (BWT) calendar got underway in 35-to-45-foot waves, in what was labeled a gold coefficient contest, the highest possible BWT rating.

The giant mountains of water caused unbelievable wipeouts. There were surfers being hit on the head by cascading walls of water, elevator drops, no-exit tube rides, and those rare and perfect left-handers.

However, Walsh proved to be the man of competition. The 34-year-old big wave surfer used his knowledge of the break to surprise everyone with a well-deserved win in front of his fans.

"Those were an incredible couple days of surfing. So much more goes into riding waves on those types of days than just being in the lineup. This accomplishment was entirely a 'we' effort," expressed Walsh, who had been invited as a wildcard.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to surf in the Peahi Challenge; to the entire safety team for the contest and every single one of the guys that are out there, swell after swell, keeping all the surfer's heads above water."

On the women's side, all six athletes gave defending event champion Paige Alms a run for her money and confirmed once again that everyone deserves a chance to put their limits to the test in waves of consequence.

"I feel so grateful to be able to sit out in an empty lineup at firing, perfect Jaws. It doesn't get much better than that. Every single one of the women today sent it on a bomb," underlined Alms.

"There were big waves out there, and I was kind of kicking myself for not going on one set, but I just feel super stoked and honored. Anyone that says they're not scared of this place, I think they're lying."

There are still two potential events on the line for the 2017/2018 big wave surfing season - the Nazaré Challenge and the Mavericks Challenge.

2017 Pe'ahi Challenge | Finals

Men
1. Ian Walsh (HAW) 21.67
2. Billy Kemper (HAW) 18.57
3. Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 18.46
4. Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.26
5. Greg Long (USA) 14.67
6. Ryan Hipwood (AUS) 6.60

Women
1. Paige Alms (HAW) 21.23
2. Keala Kennelly (HAW) 17.21
3. Justine Dupont (FRA) 14.36
4. Bianca Valenti (USA) 10.86
5. Andrea Moller (BRA) 6.41
6. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 4.54