Big Wave Surfer Keala Kennelly Calls Out World Surf League for 'Stupid Idea'

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Keala Kennelly is an all-around badass big wave surfer.

Her big wave accolades include winning the Red Bull Magnitude comp, the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards, and competing in the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

Yesterday, Kennelly took to Instagram with four posts explaining her disdain for the WSL, titled: "I will not be commenting in the WSL Big Wave Event at Jaws this year and here is why…"

In part one above, Kennelly opens with:

"I just wanted to come on here and let you guys know that I will not be competing in the WSL big wave event at Jaws this year. And part of the reason is from chronic pain from years of injuries but the other part is something I want to talk to you about today.

"In 2022 WSL announced it would be dissolving the XXL Big Wave awards and replacing it with something called 'the Big Wave Record Chase,' a competition that only awards and pays prize money to an athlete that breaks a world record.

"Not only did I think this was a stupid idea because world records can go years and even decades without being broken, but I also thought, this is a way to not have to pay prize money to big wave athletes every year..."

In the second part below, she calls the WSL a media company–not a sports league– that's just looking for attention.

She compares her winning Red Bull Magnitude wave with Andrea Moller's record-breaking Jaws wave, and Laura Enever's controversial, record-breaking wave on Oahu.

In the third post below, Kennelly claims that the WSL is stripping athletes of their accomplishments for "sensationalized headlines" and mentions the mid-season format change that cost Carissa Moore another world title.

In her last post, Kennelly says that the WSL has refused to be transparent about the formula and data used to determine the size of the waves.

She added:

"These athletes deserve honesty and transparency when it comes to these decisions that have such a huge effect on their lives and legacies."

Check out the posts to hear the details.


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