Vans Triple Crown Celebrates 20th Anniversary

NORTH SHORE, OAHU, Hawaii — As if celebrating its 20th anniversary wasn’t enough, virtually every critical milestone in professional surfing is on the line during the 2002 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Nov. 12 to Dec. 20, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Staged at three of Hawaii’s renowned North Shore big wave venues — Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline — the world’s most prestigious big wave series culminates with the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters, entering its 32nd year as the longest running and most famous professional surfing competition in the world. Viewers from around the globe will also be able to catch the series on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.

The Vans Triple Crown offers a record overall purse of nearly $750,000 including the awarding of a Ford Ranger FX4 to the men’s overall Vans Triple Crown champion. Just as important, the men’s and women’s professional world titles, composition of the 2003 World Championship Tour (WCT), composition of the 2003 World Qualifying Series (WQS) and the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing titles are all at stake. To top it all off, the infamous Xbox Pipeline Masters returns to the schedule as the season-ending WCT, making for unprecedented back-to-back grand prix events in the sport’s birthplace. The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) sanctions the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series.

The Series begins with the $100,000 six-star, WQS-rated Hawaiian Pro, Nov. 12-23 at Haleiwa’s Ali’I Beach. The break at Haleiwa features a fast ride that peels off over coral reef, allowing a full spectrum of maneuvers. As the season-ending men’s World Qualifying Series event, the Hawaiian Pro will determine those who advance to the elite WCT for a shot at the world title in 2003.

Stop number two is Sunset Beach (Nov. 24 — Dec. 7) for the $250,000 Rip Curl Cup, also known as the 28th annual World Cup of Surfing, the penultimate event on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour. Only the world’s Top 44 ranked pros and four wildcard entrants are permitted to compete in this event. In contrast to Haleiwa, the break at Sunset Beach is almost a half-mile out to sea and in very deep waters. Subsequently, the waves can be up to 20 feet thick and up to four stories high.

The finale of the Vans Triple Crown is at the infamous Banzai Pipeline for the $250,000 Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters (Dec. 8 — 20). With the Xbox Pipeline Masters returning to the schedule as an elite World Championship Tour event, it marks the first time in history that the Vans Triple Crown series ends with back-to-back WCT’s.

Pipeline rears up less than 100 feet from shore and showcases waves of up to five stories high that march shoreward before exploding upon a barely submerged coral reef. Hitting with speed and power, these swells launch abruptly, ‘jacking up’ from just a few feet in height to 15 or 20 feet in a matter of seconds. The effect of this is a hollow, barreling wave that has made the name “Banzai Pipeline” famous around the world. This, the showcase event of the 2002 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, will air on network television, with an hour-long special on NBC Sports.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title for women will return in 2002, after a one-year hiatus. The world’s top pro female surfers will star in their own three-event lineup that will run concurrently with the men’s Series. The Roxy Pro at Haleiwa (Nov. 12-23), the Turtle Bay Resort Pro in the waters off the Turtle Bay Resort (Nov. 24 — Dec. 7) and the final WCT event for 2002, the Billabong Girls Pro at Maui’s Honolua Bay (Dec. 8-20), will determine the women’s ASP World Champion. Additionally they decide the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing women’s champion, as well as the WCT and WQS lineups for the 2003 circuit.

“For twenty years the combined events of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing have showcased many of the sport’s most dramatic moments, said Executive Director Randy Rarick. “With the return of the Xbox Pipeline Masters to its well-earned season finale and back-to-back WCT’s, now virtually every major title in the sport is on the line.

Hawaiian Pro
A men’s $100,000, 6-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) competition. This is the first men’s event in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the final WQS on the 2002 ASP tour.
Date: November 12 — 23 Location: Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach Park, Oahu
Defending Champ: Andy Irons (Hawaii) First Place: $10,000

Rip Curl Cup
A $250,000 World Championship Tour (WCT) competition. This is the 28th annual World Cup of Surfing and the penultimate WCT event of the 2002 ASP World Tour.Date: November 24 – December 7 Location: Sunset Beach, OahuDefending Champ: Myles Padaca (Hawaii) First Place: $30,000

Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters
The $250,000 final WCT event of 2002 will determine the ASP world and Vans Triple Crown champions. This 32nd annual event is the longest running professional surfing competition in the world.
Date: December 8 — 20 Location: Banzai Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu.
Defending Champ: Bruce Irons (Hawaii) First Place: $30,000

The Vans Triple Crown Series features the world’s top athletes competing in three championship events in each of the following sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX and Freestyle Motocross. The Series is made possible through proud sponsors Vans, Xbox, Mountain Dew, Ford Trucks, Right Guard Xtreme Sport, Fox Sports Net, Surfing Magazine and NBC Sports.