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North Shore's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Events


Photo: Courtesy Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

The most prestigious events in professional surfing are being held right now, just an hour away, in Honolulu’s own backyard. Why here? Because for surfers eager to prove themselves, the North Shore’s “Seven Mile Miracle” of world-class surf breaks provides the ultimate test. Surfing may be one of the world’s fastest growing sports, but Hawaii remains its home.

It’s why the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing sets up camp here each year, hosting three events across November and December to close out the ASP season.

Before you jump in the car in pursuit of the best surfing you’re ever likely to see and Ted’s haupia cream pie, a few tips:

  • Each of the three events takes places over the course of a holding period of around two weeks, with the contest running on the days with the best swell. Visit the VTCS website at about 7:30 each morning to see if the contest is running. (vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com)
  • Bring: water, sunscreen, a towel (to sit on), a hat and cash. Some spectators bring binoculars, especially to the first two events, where the break is a little farther out from shore.
  • All events are free and open to the public, but parking can be a bit of a nightmare, especially at Pipeline. Be sure to head out early to avoid the headache; the first heat is usually in the water by about 8 a.m.
  • Smile a lot. By entering the contest grounds, you consent to be captured by the arsenal of cameras filming the contest for TV and the web.


Reef Hawaiian Pro

November 12—23

The holding period for the Reef Hawaiian Pro has been whittled down to just three more days, with one full day of surfing still to be completed. Held at Haleiwa’s Alii Beach Park, the event is already living up to its reputation for varied conditions. The contest was cancelled the first couple of days on account of wild surf, with waves as high as 20 feet. Since then, the surfers have been making the most of two- and three-footers. Now, there are 32 surfers left, including five from Hawaii, not to mention $40,000 in need of a winner.


Vans World Cup

November 24 – December 6

The holding period for the second Triple Crown event extends from just before Thanksgiving to the beginning of December. Expect a bigger crowd than for the Reef, as the surfers who opted out of the North Shore’s first competition (such as Kelly Slater) arrive to surf the famed big waves of Sunset Beach. Another mainstay of the North Shore season is the awards show Surfer Poll. It’s hosted by Surfer Magazine and held at Turtle Bay to celebrate all things surfing—from the best rides to the worst wipeouts. The December 6th event is invite-only, but the show will be webcast live at surferpoll.com starting at 7 p.m.


Billabong Pipe

December 8 – December 20

The final stop of the Vans Triple Crown is held at Banzai Pipeline. The break’s proximity to the beach makes it great for spectators, and, this year, the crowds should expect extra drama. The stakes will be even higher than usual at Pipe, as the contest will also be the decider in the race between Slater and Australia’s Mick Fanning for the 2013 ASP Championship title.



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Honolulu Magazine April 2018
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