To commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, we look back on the pinnacle moments and competitive achievements throughout each decade of the contest’s history


After placing well in the Duke Kahanamoku Classic and winning both the World Cup and the Pipeline Masters (despite wearing a cast on his right wrist), Michael Ho wins the first Triple Crown of Surfing in 1982. Photo: Jeff Divine

Michael and Derek Ho dominate during the early years of the Triple Crown by trading wins in consecutive years: Michael won in 1983 and 1985 while Derek won in 1984 and 1986. Photos: Jim Russi and Jeff Divine

Gary Elkerton utilizes his power surfing in the big wave arena of Sunset Beach to win the Triple Crown in 1987 and 1989. Photo: Jeff Divine

Mark “Occy” Occhilupo cements his status as a teenage phenom in the 1980s by winning the 1985 Pipe Masters in 12-15 foot swell at the age of 19. Photo: Jim Russi

Tom Carroll lays down his snap heard ‘round the world in 1991, putting an exclamation mark on his winning campaign at the Pipe Masters as well as winning the Triple Crown that year. Photo: Jeff Divine

Sunny Garcia, thanks to his spray-infused power surfing, claims his first Triple Crown victory in 1992, and wins an undisputed five more titles: 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2004. Photo: Joli

Florida’s Kelly Slater begins to shift the emphasis away from Sunset to the Pipeline, Backdoor and Off the Wall area, winning his first Triple Crown in the process in 1995. Photo: Rick Doyle

Kauai’s Kaipo Jaquias wins the Triple Crown in 1996, becoming the first surfer from a neighboring Hawaiian island to win the Triple Crown. Photo: Jim Russi

After making the Finals of the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and winning at Sunset, Big Island native Myles Padaca wins the 2001 VTCS. His title continues to inspire the crop of surfing talent on the Big Island. Photo: Jim Russi

Andy Irons dominates competitive surfing in 2002, winning the Championship Tour, the Pipe Masters and the VTCS. He would go on to win the VTCS in 2003, 2005 and 2006. Photo: Jim Russi

The 2000s saw one of surfing’s greatest rivalries: Kelly Slater versus Andy Irons, with the rivalry culminating at the 2003 Pipe Masters. Slater led the ratings heading into the contest, but Irons surfed on point, besting Slater in an emotional Final. This secured Irons’ second World Title. Photo: Checkwood / A-Frame

Aussie Joel Parkinson wins three back-to-back VTCS titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Photo: WSL / Cestari

After winning the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach in 2011, John John Florence wins his first VTCS in 2011. Florence has since won two more VTCS titles: 2013 and 2016. Photo: WSL / Heff

After an average year on the WQS in 2012, Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz finished first in the Reef Hawaiian Pro, second in the Vans World Cup of Surfing and fifth in the Billabong Pipe Masters, winning the VTCS and earning a spot on the following year’s Championship Tour.  Photo:  WSL / Miyake

In 2014, Maui’s Dusty Payne saw a miraculous climb up the rankings with a win at Haleiwa and a strong showing at the Vans World Cup. WSL / Sean Reilly

Heading into the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters, Hawaii’s Ezekiel Lau was one spot out from qualifying for the 2017 Championship Tour. Fellow Quiksilver teammate and CT rookie Kanoa Igarashi would have to surf into the Quarterfinals or better at the 2016 Billabong Pipe Masters to double-qualify and open up the spot for Zeke. That’s exactly what Kanoa did, finishing runner up to Michel Bourez, and pushing Zeke Lau onto the 2017 CT in the process. Photo: WSL / Heff



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