Billy Kemper: putting out a solid performance at Peahi | Photo: Lynton/WSL

Billy Kemper and Paige Alms have conquered the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) titles.

The 2017/2018 BWT season witnessed incredible performances from the world's best surfers across three unique competitions - the Puerto Escondido Challenge in Mexico, the Peahi Challenge in Hawaii, and the Nazaré Challenge in Portugal.

Maui's Billy Kemper earned his first Big Wave Tour title by making the finals in all three BWT events this season, including runner-up finishes at Peahi and Nazaré.

"I am overwhelmed and excited to be the Men's Big Wave Tour Champion.t has been nothing but a blessing to be on this path, and I am so thankful for my family and everyone who has supported me to get here," said Kemper.

"I lost my older brother when I was eight years old, and we thought he was going to be a world champion. I wanted to live out my brother's dream and accomplish this for my family."

Over the past three years, Kemper has become a force on the big wave scene, most notably with his back-to-back Peahi Challenge victories.

In 2017, Kemper finished sixth on the BWT rankings but won the prestigious Big Wave Award Ride of the Year recognition for his incredible barrel at the Peahi Challenge in 2016.

"Last year, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Everything I did this year was for my mom, and the reality is that this, my goal to become champion, had a time limit to it," adds the Hawaiian.

"I felt like this was my chance and my opportunity. Tomorrow is never promised. It was hard enough leaving my mom for a week for the Nazaré Challenge."

Billy Kemper: he wants to be a force to be reckoned with | Photo: Villela/WSL

"I basically told myself that it was an all-or-nothing situation. My goal was to have my mom see me as the best I ever was, right now, and I wanted to win this for her.

"I am so excited to be able to celebrate with my family and share this with my mom. It is truly a blessing, and I am so thankful."

The BWT title race took a pivotal turn during the final event of the season, the Nazaré Challenge, when Kemper's second-place finish moved him just past Kai Lenny for the rankings' lead.

Both Kemper and Lenny are leading the next generation of big wave surfers with their innovative and fearless performances in all conditions.

"I want to be a force to be reckoned with. I am very excited and thankful to be a part of this generation of surfers and a part of this turning point in surfing," notes Kemper.

"There has been a changing of the guard on the Championship Tour - with surfers like John John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson - and I've tried to take that as motivation into the Big Wave Tour."

"I want to bring something new, and I am excited to be one of the frontrunners of this generation in big wave surfing."

Today's achievement marks Alms' second BWT title-clinching, after earning the Big Wave crown last year.

Alms successfully defended her Peahi Challenge win in massive waves last October to take the Big Wave Rankings' lead and further evidence her dominance at the infamous Jaws break.

"Winning a world title, let alone two, has been a childhood dream since I can remember. I am so honored to be able to win twice and bring the trophy back home to Maui, where it all started for me," stated Alms.

"It is an amazing feeling to be at the top with these awards and titles, but to be honest, win or lose, I feel like I'm always winning."

"Being able to do what I do and share that with my friends and family, I'm winning every day. I hope that what I am accomplishing in my career will give hope and inspire the next generation to go after their goals and dreams."

Paige Alms: a back-to-back win at the Peahi Challenge | Photo: Lynton/WSL

Alms has been charging big waves since she was 15 years old and now looks to be unstoppable amongst her competitors and against monstrous conditions.

The Maui surfer earned the Women's Best Performance recognition at the Big Wave Awards in 2017 after six-straight nominations starting in 2012.

In addition to her big-wave pursuits, Alms was also featured in a 2015 documentary called "The Wave I Ride," from director Devyn Bisson.

The film portrayed Alms' journey to the big wave arena, including both her support system - specifically, her partner and shaper, Sean Ordonez, and her mother - and the odd jobs and training routine that she has juggled along the way.

This year's Women's Big Wave Tour witnessed Alms win the Peahi Challenge, with big wave legend Keala Kennelly earning second place and Justine Dupont in third.

"I believe that having a platform to perform in the best conditions with only six women in the water is one of the best ways to push the level of the sport," continued Alms.

"As big wave lineups get more and more crowded, I look forward to having these events that allow for an empty lineup and being able to pick and choose our waves that you truly want. I really look forward to having more than one event next season."

"Although I think Jaws is by far the best wave on tour, it will be nice to challenge ourselves in other conditions. I am excited to surf Mavericks with just a handful of surfers out."

2017/2018 Big Wave Tour | Men's Top 10

1. Billy Kemper (HAW) 27,140
2. Kai Lenny (HAW) 24,829
3. Ian Walsh (HAW) 17,757
4. Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 14,123
5. Lucas Chianca (BRA) 13,331
6. Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 12,779
7. Tom Lowe (GBR) 9,081pts
8. Alex Botelho (PRT) 7,897
9. Greg Long (USA) 7,538
10. Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 6,944

2017/2018 Big Wave Tour | Women's Top 6

1. Paige Alms (HAW) 10,000
2. Keala Kennelly (HAW) 8,333
3. Justine Dupont (FRA) 6,944
4. Bianca Valenti (USA) 5,787
5. Andrea Moller (BRA) 4,823
6. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 4,019

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