By the time you read this, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
will be entering it’s second of three events. The Triple
Crown, also known as the Super Bowl of Surfing is the final
contest of professional surfing’s 2008 World Champion
Tour (WCT), which stops annually at Hale‘iwa, Sunset
Beach, and Pipeline on O‘ahu’s North Shore.
Each of the events has a two-week window, which allows contest
directors to run the contest during the days of the best waves.
For 26 years, the Triple Crown of Surfing has provided the communities
of O‘ahu and surfing a spectacular show of exceptional
waves and intense competition between the world’s best
However fierce this year’s competition might be, Kelly
Slater has already clinched the world title for 2008, making
this the ninth title throughout his illustrious career. Because
the Triple Crown is held in Hawai‘i, there is a massive
amount of pride amongst the entering Hawaiian surfers to win.
Five Hawaiian surfers are competing in the Triple Crown this
season: Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Roy Powers, Pancho Sullivan,
and Fred Patacchia. The world title for this year has been claimed,
but a Hawaiian surfer still has a chance to step up and claim
the coveted “Crown.”
O‘ahu’s Sunny Garcia with six titles, Kaua‘i’s
Andy Irons with three, and other numerous Hawaiian wins, shows
that Hawaiian surfers have consistently held the Triple Crown
tightly within their grips.
This year at Hale‘iwa kicked off with double overhead waves,
glassy conditions, and partly sunny skies. The women’s
division went out first, followed by the men’s. Surfers
from 17 different countries are represented in the Triple Crown,
and South Africa’s Jordy Smith has had the strongest start.
Smith, who earned 18 of 20 possible points in round three, said
in a press release, “I definitely like big waves and I
love coming here. It’s where a boy becomes a man and I’m
in the transformation of that now.”
On Nov. 20, 16-year-old Carissa Moore from O‘ahu, won the
Women’s division at Hale‘iwa with a little help from
her friend, Coco Ho. Moore had a six-point lead as the heat drew
close to an end. Layne Beachley, who had a chance to beat Moore’s
score, was dropped in on by Ho in order to prevent Beachley from
winning. In a press release, Moore said, “I was praying
that Layne wouldn’t get one. I was really thankful that
Coco ended up getting that one. I’m definitely thankful
that she is one of my best friends.”
Tom Hamilton, father of Kaua‘i’s Bethany Hamilton,
was happy to be on O‘ahu’s North Shore for the Triple
Crown. Bethany Hamilton is the surfer who had her arm bitten
off by a tiger shark while surfing on Kaua‘i in 2003.
For Hamilton, “It’s great to relax, and film Bethany
for the weekend. I’m only here for two days, but it’s
like a vacation to me.”
HPU students are also taking advantage of the Triple Crown. Freshman
Charlotte Whitney said, “I love watching the Triple Crown.
It’s great to go to the North Shore on a nice day and watch
some good surfing with my friends. Plus, there are lots of hot
Less than an hour drive from anywhere on O‘ahu, the competition
can be enjoyed any time during the day. Admission is free, but
getting there earlier than later is necessary because parking
on the North Shore fills up quickly, especially around contest
time. Another option is to ride the bus. The 52 and 55 run past
Pipeline and Sunset, making for “curbside” service.
The Sunset Beach competition begins on Nov. 24 and runs until
Dec. 6. Sunset Beach is located on Kamehameha Highway, across
from Ted’s Bakery. The final showdown of the Vans Triple
Crown is the Pipeline Masters.
Arguably the most famous contest held at the most famous wave
in the world, the Pipeline Masters, is the final stop for the
Triple Crown and held Dec. 8 to Dec. 20. Pipeline is located
in Ehukai Beach Park, across Sunset Elementary School.
If you cannot get to the beach due to any reason such as work
or school, you can follow the events through a live stream at