Storming 20-to-25 foot faces in waters off Oaxaca, Mexico, famed Hawaii waterman Kai Lenny claimed first place in the Puerto Escondido Challenge on Monday, the first event of the 2017 WSL Big Wave Tour.
Lenny, who traveled to Mexico for the contest instead of defending his 'Molokai 2 Oahu' stand-up paddleboard championship, beat out two other Hawaii surfers who also competed in the event's final round.
“I remember coming here last year and being super terrified because I had never been here,” said Lenny. “My goal last year was to make the Final because I missed out last time. There are so many good big wave surfers in the world that when you get called up you really feel like you have to perform and charge."
The victory was Lenny's first on the WSL Big Wave circuit, following a 9th-place finish at Jaws and a 13th-place finish at Nazare.
His final wave of the contest, an 8.60, gave Lenny the win – and 10,000 points toward the Big Wave title.
“I can't believe it,” said Lenny. “I am so stoked. That was awesome. It was hard to get waves out there because they were just so shifty, but then the one that I had been waiting for finally came."