The North Shore winter surf season is once again upon us, and the coast’s miraculous transformation form a tranquil summer idle into the global epicenter of extreme surf has begun. For nearly four decades, The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a festival befitting of the Seven Mile Miracle, has served as an annual affirmation of the coast’s supremacy in the world of surf.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a siren call to the world’s best surfers to face their final tests of the year at some of the most challenging venues on the planet: Hale‘iwa, Sunset, and of course, the Banzai Pipeline. It is a recipe that has yielded many of the sport’s historic performances, and 37 years on, continues to generate iconic moments year after year.
The analogy of a festival is fitting, as the Triple Crown is in fact many shows, many dramas, all rolled together into one big show. You have your main attractions in the WSL world title race and the coveted Triple Crown Title itself. And, while not technically a part of the Vans Triple Crown, over on Maui, the final WSL event of the Women’s Championship Tour season is held at iconic Honolua Bay. This year’s event is especially noteworthy, as Hawai‘i’s Carissa Moore will be competing for an unprecedented fourth world title in one of the most competitive fields in the history of the sport.
Beyond the major podium finishes, there’s an abundance of other stories played out on the smaller stages, and, in some cases, the stakes are even higher for the actors involved. These, of course, are the stories of the Qualifying Series warriors who have battled all year, around the globe, for one of the ten coveted seats on the WSL Championship Tour allotted for QS surfers. As the Vans Triple Crown progresses, each round of elimination has career-defining significance. In the last few years, the minimum end-of-year QS point tally for Championship Tour qualification has hovered around somewhere north of 16,000 points. And, with 20,000 points available between the Hawaiian Pro at Hale‘iwa and the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, the QS leaderboard is ripe for a major final reshuffling.
For the vast majority of us mere mortals, whose chances of donning a Vans Triple Crown jersey are as likely as playing alongside Lebron in the NBA finals, what does all this mean?
On the North Shore, and for surfers around the world, the Vans Triple Crown coincides with the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the time of year when heavy winter swells present each of us with ample opportunity to push our personal boundaries. The Vans Triple Crown is a superpowered microcosm of the world’s best surfers pushing their limits in the world’s most challenging waves. This winter, when you find yourself at the fringe of your comfort zone, look no further than this festival—the greatest show in surf—the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for inspiration. These athletes redefine what’s possible for themselves and so can you.