For many people, the first sign of winter comes in the form of falling snow. For surfers that flock to Hawaii each year, winter arrives with a monster swell.

The waves were cranking for this weekend’s Pe’Ahi Callenge, a first-of-its-kind big wave competition at Maui’s famed “jaws” break, which saw record breaking 30-foot swells. The waves marched to the shore in force Dec 6 as competitors did their best to stand out, let alone stand up. 

The event saw some incredible rides, with Surfer Magazine calling it one of the all-time most entertaining surf contests ever. The magazine has an incredible slide show of photos not to be missed by photographer Brent Bielman. 

Winning admiration for the guts it takes to hold a line into a 30-foot barrel was Greg Long for what he called later the biggest barrel of his life. 

The conditions were also extremely windy, which made it even harder for riders to stay on their boards. Taking first place was Billy Kemper. 

Leading up to the event, it was already attracting attention as the conditions grew. 

“I’m for sure nervous but just going to go out there and make it like a normal session,” Tyler Larronde, a 21-year-old from Haiku, told the Maui News. “I’m thinking, ‘Be patient, wait for a couple of bombs.’ “

Featured photo: Kai Lenny makes the drop during Round 1 by Kelly Cestari, World Surf League 



Congratulations @billykemper, winner of the 2015 #PeahiChallenge!!! #BigWaveTour Photo | @kc80

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A rare empty moment at Pipeline. | @edsloanephoto

A photo posted by World Surf League (@wsl) on