The World Cup of Surfing is the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Held at Sunset Beach, the big wave event is steeped in tradition, as the infamously long and shifty wave is held in the highest esteem by big wave surfers around the world.
A true test for any waterman, the waves at Sunset are spread across a huge playing field, which challenges the fitness of the surfers to get in the right spot to catch the best and biggest waves. Notorious for being unruly and complex, only a few dedicated surfers have mastered the lineup and the powerful waves that pour down the point.
Sunset Beach is a wave magnet and pulls in swell from the west to the northeast and has the potential to showcase some of the biggest waves ridden in competition during the Triple Crown. In years past, power surfing—big rail turns, deep barrels and under-the-lip hacks—dominated the lineup as surfers with big boards did their best to muscle across Sunset’s long, lined-up sections. But with the advent of high-performance, above the lip surfing sweeping the surf world, the younger competitors are now charging Sunset on smaller boards that allow them to pull off incredible maneuvers in the most critical sections of the wave, bringing a new dimension of power and style to competitive surfing at Sunset Beach.
The competitive spirit felt at the contest site and in the water truly matches the powerful surf at Sunset. As a QS/10,000 event and the last qualifying contest of the season, surfers battle it out for crucial points that determine their final ranking on next year’s tour. For some, a good result means breaking in to the WSL World Tour or just hanging on to their World Tour seed. For others on the cusp of requalifying for the World Tour who fair poorly at Sunset, it can be a long, pensive flight back home. Between the epic surf, the level of surfing and careers on the line, the World Cup of Surfing is the ultimate surf drama.