NORTH SHORE, OAHU, Hawaii – On the Hawaiian Island of Oahu lies the most notorious seven-mile stretch of surf on earth, the world famous North Shore. It is in this mythological place, home to the world’s biggest waves, that legends are made and lives are put on the line. From Nov. 12 through Dec. 20, the world’s top men and women surfers will chase professional world titles, a $655,000 purse and the glory of the greatest achievement in surfing, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title.
Already sporting a history and tradition unparalleled in the world of professional surfing, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is ratcheting the drama to unprecedented levels in 2004. A trio of anniversary celebrations, forecasts calling for El Nino-driven big waves, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, record exposure from Hollywood filmmakers, elite back-to-back women’s events and momentous changes in sponsorship cap what portends to be an epic North Shore winter. And, for the first time in Vans Triple Crown of surfing history, millions of surf enthusiasts across the globe will be able to catch extensive live coverage from all three events at www.triplecrownofsurfing.com.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series begins with the $125,000 six-star, World Qualifying Series (WQS)-rated Vans Hawaiian Pro, Nov. 12 to 24 at Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach, which runs concurrently with the first women’s event: the $62,500 World Championship Tour (WCT)-rated Roxy Pro. The break at Haleiwa features a fast ride that peels off over coral reef, allowing a full spectrum of maneuvers.
Stop number two is at Sunset Beach (Nov. 26 — Dec. 7) for the $125,000 O’Neill World Cup of Surfing, also a six-star WQS. 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 of Surfing is at the infamous Banzai Pipeline for the $260,000 Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters (Dec. 8 — 20), a World Championship Tour (WCT) rated event. Pipeline rears up 50 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.
Already considered the sport’s Mecca with athletes, industry, spectators and media attending from across the globe, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing funnels nearly $10 million annually into the Oahu economy placing it in the same league with mainstream sports like football and golf. Interest and attendance is expected to increase again this year, fueled in large part by recent motion pictures “Riding Giants, “The Ride and “The Big Bounce, all filmed on the North Shore. Television series like “North Shore, “Lost, “Hawaii and “Rocky Point are adding to the heightened awareness.
With Rip Curl stepping up their sponsorship and the addition of O’Neill, the heritage and tradition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is poised to grow to new and unprecedented levels. The O’Neill World Cup of Surfing is the season-ending WQS event, determining which surfers advance to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) elite World Championship Tour for a shot at the world title in 2005. The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters will be the climax of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the 2004 ASP World Tour —the sport’s two most coveted titles.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title for women showcases the world’s top pro female surfers in their own back-to-back WCT events that run concurrently with the men’s Series. The Roxy Pro at Haleiwa is the penultimate event on the 2004 ASP World Tour while the final WCT event for 2004, the $62,500 Billabong Pro is held at MMaui’s Honolua Bay (Dec. 8-20). Collectively these events determine the women’s ASP World Champion, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champion, as well as the WCT lineups for the 2005 circuit.
With El Nino conditions leading to expectations of a bumper crop of waves this year, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is also celebrating a triple header of anniversaries: the 30th anniversary of the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing, 20th anniversary of the Vans Hawaiian Pro (Nov. 12-24 at Haleiwa) and the 10th anniversary of the women’s Roxy Pro (Nov. 12-24 at Haleiwa). The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters remains the world’s longest running pro event at 34 years.
“After three decades of incredible surfing it only gets better, said Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Executive Director Randy Rarick. “This year with the world title a foregone conclusion, the title race for the Vans Triple Crown will take on even more significance. Watch for some of the most intense competition ever seen on the North Shore.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is made possible through the support of a partnership of the world’s leading brands and media companies including: Ford Trucks, G-Shock, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Surfing Magazine, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort, The Honolulu Advertiser and Fox Sports Net.