Keala Kennelly: negotiating a trick take-off at Jaws | Photo: Hallman

Keala Kennelly has taken out the Women's Jaws Challenge, in Maui. The event got underway in treacherous conditions.

The Hawaiian big wave surfer suffered a couple of heavy wipeouts at the hands of Peahi but ended up stealing the show with a relentless performance.

"Those were probably the most challenging conditions I've ever surfed out here. It was so gnarly. There was so much wind," explained Kennelly.

At a certain point, Keala was surfing 30-to-40-foot waves without a leash and CO2 cartridges in her inflatable life vest.

"On my first wipeout, I thought the leash had pulled my leg out of the socket, and then I took a couple on the head. In the first one, I cartwheeled. I was just trying to send it as hard as I could. But it was tough."

Swell continued to build throughout the contest, and wind kept making things difficult for the competitors - the takeoff was always tricky, and the bottom turns were never smooth and easy.

Andrea Moller: the wind was making it difficult to get into the wave | Photo: Hallman/WSL

Justine Dupont, who had won the first semifinal, had to pull out of the final after dislocating her shoulder.

Although finalists weren't able to complete their rides, they never lacked commitment. In the end, it feels like all athletes deserved better conditions.

Emily Erickson surfed the best wave of the final, but she was unable to back up her first wave with a second ride and finished third.

Paige Alms place fourth, but she has reasons to smile because she rode the best wave of the event. Andrea Moller tried her best, but all she got was a runner-up finish at Jaws.

2018 Women's Jaws Challenge | Final

1. Keala Kennelly (HAW) 8.61
2. Andrea Moller (BRA) 7.97
3. Emily Erickson (HAW) 7.86
4. Paige Alms (HAW) 4.01

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