Ian Walsh just won the 2017 Pe’ahi Challenge, and he did it in convincing fashion. Throughout the event, Walsh consistently found the biggest and best waves in a lineup filled with the world’s best surfers. “So stoked,” he said in his post-win interview. “This is a really big honor and I’m stoked that I can follow up Billy and keep this thing on Maui. Everyone here surfed really really well and it was a pleasure to be in the water with them. It feels like one of those big free-surf days.”
Walsh, a Maui local, loves Jaws. He’s part of a small group of people who can claim local status at one of the world’s scariest waves. Walsh made it known early that he was one to watch. His perfect 10 in the semifinals was one of those rare 10s that no one will question.
On the first day of the event, in the midst of a building swell, Walsh made good use of local knowledge. His first two waves were Walsh’s first this year at Jaws. As Walsh does, he took off almost impossibly deep, cranked out impossible bottom turns, and found his way onto impossibly giant faces. His win has been a long time coming–Walsh was a pioneer of paddle surfing at Jaws.