Your Essential Guide to the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
Winter in Hawaiʻi means epic surf and world-class competitions on the North Shore. Here’s where these annual contests happen and how to spectate like a pro.
Current World Champion John John Florence tucks into a Backdoor barrel at the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters.
Photos: Courtesy of World Surf League/Freesurf Magazine/Heff
It’s officially winter in Hawaiʻi with cooler trade winds and rainy days. On Oʻahu’s North Shore, this means one thing: gigantic waves. These 10-foot-plus watery forces of nature attract the world’s best surfers who paddle out to compete in the annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Here’s how to watch these annual contests like a pro.
What It Is and Where
The competition comprises three surfing contests. First up is the Hawaiian Pro held at the Haleʻiwa Aliʻi Beach Park. It’s followed by the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. The crown jewel of the three is the Billabong Pipe Masters at ‘Ehukai Beach Park, home of Banzai Pipeline.
When It Happens
Each contest runs on the four days when the surf is the biggest, and best. The World Surf League will update the website when the contest is called for each event. Check out WSL’s Twitter account for details. Here are the holding periods for each:
Hawaiian Pro: Nov. 12–24
Vans World Cup of Surfing: Nov. 25–Dec. 6
Billabong Pipe Masters: Dec. 8– 20
Who to Watch
Photo: Courtesy of World Surf League/Chlala
The Vans Triple Crown brings the best of the best. The Billabong Pipe Masters will feature all four world title contenders, including defending world champion of surfing and North Shore native John John Florence; 11-time world champion Kelly Slater; 2016 Vans World Cup winner Jordy Smith of South Africa; 2015 Vans Triple Crown winner and first Brazilian World Champion Gabriel Medina; and 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters winner Julian Wilson of Australia.
Collectively, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing boasts more than a $1 million prize purse.
How Much It Costs
We all know parking on the North Shore during the winter gets hectic. It’s infinitely worse during the Triple Crown. That’s why the World Surf League has partnered with Turtle Bay Resort and North Shore Transport to offer a park-and-ride service from the resort to the three contest sites from Nov. 12 through Dec. 20.
Another option is avoid driving altogether and catch TheBus, or, if you live nearby, walk or ride your bike.
The crowd fills in at Hale‘iwa Ali'i Beach for Event No. 1 of the 2016 Vans Triple Crown, the Hawaiian Pro.
What to Bring
Bring a beach chair or blanket to sit on. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun, too, with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and your own water bottle. Once you get settled on the beach, chances are you’ll want to say for a while. If you have binoculars, bring those too!
If you want a good contest-viewing spot, get there early; thousands of spectators show up each day when the contests happen.
Each of the beach parks has public bathrooms for contestgoers. The World Surf League recently renovated the bathrooms at Haleʻiwa Aliʻi Beach Park and ‘Ehukai Beach Park.
Where Else to Watch
Can’t make it out to the North Shore? The World Surf League will livestream each of the contests.