Nowadays, with the advent of digital entertainment and the massive if not alarming amount of time humans spend staring at computer and video display screens, getting a cover shot for a magazine is a rare and special event. This month’s cover athlete Billy Kemper states it clearly. “Getting a cover shot, you know, it’s, it’s really rare. As a professional athlete to see yourself in print it’s almost like a miracle! It doesn’t happen often and I’m very grateful for the family at Freesurf Magazine for keeping this dream alive. My first cover shot ever was with Freesurf, which is now the only iconic monthly magazine for surfing and you know, I feel really honored. It’s just a blessing a dream come true and brings back my childhood dreams and feelings of wanting to be, you know, like Sunny (Garcia) on the cover, wanting to be like my idols and peers and to be able to open up a magazine and see myself on the cover. The stoke never dies with that one. I’m honored once again to be on the front page. It, it truly means a lot to me and my family.
On this cover
“Haleiwa is one of the most iconic waves worldwide, let alone being on the “seven mile miracle” of the north shore Oahu. It’s at the pinnacle of high performance especially in bigger waves. Haleiwa is not an XXL wave but as far as big wave progression surfing, when you think of guys on the CT guys on the QS, the, and the level of power surfing and progression surfing, Haleiwa is kind of the pinnacle for that.
When I think of Haleiwa I think of performers like Sunny Garcia, Kaipo Jaquias, Andy Irons and Pancho Sullivan- real powerful surfers. I just try to enter my ‘Sunny’ mode every time I surf out there and everything he’s ever taught me and showed me with the lineups.
That particular wave I remember very clearly. It was actually on Thanksgiving. I ran away from the family while I had the Turkey on the Trager and was able to get a nice warmup session before the contest started the next day. I remember dropping it on that wave and taking a real drawn-out bottom turn. It was kind of one of those deep west ones behind the bathhouse and I came off the bottom into a real nice opening carve. It was such a beautiful canvas, one of those sections where you can really lean into your rail, kind of like a snowboard turn in powder and just really put it all on the line. It’s rare you get sections like that. And when you do it’s, there’s not a better feeling. A magic carpet ride!
That day I was riding my Town and Country, Glen Pang 6’4’ – S-4 V a model that we’ve been working on over the last couple of years. Its got a little bit of volume distribution change, a bit more volume up in the front of the board under the chest, which makes it paddle much better and a real pulled in defined tail that kind of creates that shortboard feeling to be able to do those high performance turns when the waves are bigger.