Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • June 20, 2021
Billy Kemper’s Big-Wave Survival Story Is The Subject Of A New Documentary That You Can Watch Now

Maui world champion big-wave surfer Billy Kemper is the subject of a six-part documentary series.

The show “Billy” is all about Kemper’s road to recovery after his near-fatal surfing accident in Morocco, and the first episode is available now at WorldSurfLeague.com. The next five episodes of the WSL Studios-produced show will be released one at a time every Sunday starting Feb. 28.

 

Promotional art for the new “Billy” six-part documentary.

 

Kemper, the 2018 World Surf League Big Wave world champion who won the iconic Jaws event at Peahi, Maui, four times, flew to Morocco in early 2020 in search of gigantic waves. During a 10-hour surf sessions he suffered a life-threatening injury that included a lung infection, broken pelvis and shattered knee.

 

Billy Kemper after one of his four victories at Jaws.

 

“I feel that ‘Billy is one of the most compelling pieces of content that the WSL has ever produced,” WSL Studios vice president Ryan Holcomb said. “The series gives fans an exclusive, unfiltered look into Kemper’s remarkable story, and it’s reflective of WSL Studios’ commitment to invest in epic stories about the stars of our sport. This series humanizes one of surfing’s modern superheroes in such a unique way — and it is riveting from beginning to end.”

 

Billy Kemper during his fourth victory at Jaws in December 2019. (Image credit: WSL Saguibo).

 

Despite nearly dying, Kemper looks at that day in Morocco as one of his best surf sessions ever.

“That day will probably be remembered as one of the best days of surfing in my lifetime,” he told the WSL. “I was having a great time with my friends when my entire life turned upside down in a matter of seconds. From that moment on, all I cared about was to stay alive and get back to my family. Whether it is riding big waves, winning world titles, or coming home from work, a family is what will motivate you and push you more than anything in the world. I wouldn’t be back in the water doing what I love if it wasn’t for my wife, my boys, my brother. All of my friends and family who helped me stand again, who surrounded and supported me along the way. You get what you give.”

The official trailer for “Billy.”

Directed by Layne Stratton, the series also revisits Kemper’s history, including his early life, upbringing, competitive successes, and the power of family and community in his life.

All ‘BILLY’ episodes will be available at WorldSurfLeague.com, on Outside TV, and on WSL’s YouTube channel, and available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Japanese.

 

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