Ok, so everyone knows I like to talk about surfing and the cool thing is that for a prairie kid the talk goes far beyond the standard “Blue Crush” banter that you hear when walking into your local Billabong retailer.
This past week saw the Triple Crown Presented by Vans kick off on the North Shore of Hawaii and it also marks the start of the season when there is a live feed on nearly every day, thanks to the massive fields that are included in these events.
I seriously think that if you want to get an idea of what pro surfing is at its most grassroots form, these are the contests to watch. They include a great mix of pro surfers from the ASP’s top flights like the World Championship Tour and World Qualifying Tour as well as surfers who take part in lower tier events all over the world but have enough points to get in. The field is rounded of with a few wildcards from the sponsors, qualifying events and of course, Hawaii.
The first 2 events, The Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup of Surf at Sunset which will commence on the 25th have a field that starts at 128 and narrows down over the course of about 2 weeks to see an event champion who must not only conquer some of the world’s best surf, but also the world’s best surfers.
The final jewel on the crown is the famous Billabong Pipeline Masters, which happens from December 8 – 20. It has a bit of a different format, seeing only the best 36 take to the water in the actual contest to fight it out for the most sought after title in all of surf.
The reasons why it is a good idea to watch these contests are almost endless, from the heart-warming stories like how Hawaiian local and 2011 world women’s champ Carissa Moore got an invite and held her own against the bros. Or how perennial ASP hater J’OB continues to spew harsh words toward the governing body of surf, but still supports the sport in the place he calls home.
But perhaps the best reason to tune into the Triple Crown is because it is the best way to familiarize yourself with REAL contest surfing and not the type you see in the movies. You will be introduced to the names in the game from the unheard Hawaiians that tear up these events every year to world tour juggernauts like Kelly, Mick, Jordy and Parko.
You will be witness to all the things a pro surf contest is made up of, from terrible announcers to even worse athlete interviews; from lulls in swell to classic Hawaiian bulges that create highlight reel rides. The surf world waits for these events every year and there is one obvious reason why: they seldom disappoint. And although the title races are wrapped up for the season and champions already have their crowns, you need only to look back to Jeremy Flores last year to see just how special these events can be.
I am going to get back to watching surfing now. Peace Brah!