Fading swell and a couple a lei-days will greet the beginning of this year’s Triple Crown of Surfing. Just enough time to take a look at the forecast and heat draws for the first two of the three back-to-back events, which represent the climax to an already exciting 2012 season.
Included in this year’s draw are Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds, two names we aren’t accustomed to seeing in Hawaiian 4-man heats. Slater won two Triple Crowns early in his career, last in 1998, but has been absent from Haleiwa and Sunset for several years. After a seemingly uncomfortable performance at the last event in Santa Cruz, perhaps Kelly wants to go into the Pipe Masters fully dialed into the Hawaiian juice.
Dane has never taken a serious shot at the Triple Crown, but after some of his wildcard performances lately, maybe we’ll see more of that competitive fire that’s left now that he isn’t on tour full-time.
Also worth noting, under new rules, any surfer in contention for the Triple Crown can be given a wildcard into the Pipe Masters. In the past it was just the highest-rated Hawaiian. This means that we could see some very interesting names get tossed into the draw that will decide this year’s World Title.
Two names that are oddly absent from the Triple Crown draw are Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson, the other two overall world title contenders along with Slater. Though Mick missed last year’s Haleiwa event with a back injury, it’s an event that neither surfer likes to miss. Joel has won three triple crowns, most recently in 2010, where he won both the Haleiwa event and the overall crown, despite losing the title to Mick that year–something that neither surfer has forgotten.
The forecast is looking good to get the 6-star Prime rated event under way as early as Thursday afternoon with an overhead pulse of NW swell scheduled to fill in. That storm may be followed by another, which would provide enough swell to finish off the event, but early indications aren’t looking too big at this point. For the most part, this year’s Haleiwa event is shaping up to be a small-wave battle with a bunch of qualifying points on the table.
Photo of Haleiwa courtesy of Reef, Photo of Joel Parkinson at Haleiwa courtesy ASP