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Vans Triple Crown of Surfing – Oahu

Surfing is more than just a hobby in Hawaii; it is a way of life. From the gentle ripples of Waikiki Beach to the thunderous giants of the Sunset Beach, the island of Oahu in particular is a tempting place for fans of the sport. The legendary waves of the North Shore are some of the most challenging sets in the world, making this island a popular setting for locals and visitors, amateurs and professional surfers to congregate and witness some of the best surfers hone their skills. Hawaii hosts several world renowned surf competitions and among them is the famous Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

The Vans Triple Crown is comprised of a series of surfing events including HIC Pro at Sunset Beach, the Vans Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park, the Vans World Cup of Surfing and the Billabong Pipe Masters.

This surf competition is one of the most difficult events of its kind, as the participants have to prove their abilities by mastering waves of up to 50 feet in several different locations. While there is a single winner identified for each of the individual events of the Vans Triple Crown, one competitor is awarded the champions of all the events based on how they have ranked in each of the competitions. The championship winners are considered the most skilled professional surfers in the world.

History of the Event

Hawaii’s first international surfing event occurred in 1954 on the western shore of Oahu at Makaha. This contest became so popular that it was regarded as a world champion event, and it ran every November through December until 1971. During the 1960’s, ABC broadcasted coverage of the surf competition, which began moving from the western and southern coasts of Oahu to the North Shore where the waves were thicker, faster and much more treacherous.

The first “Pipe Master” was headed by an erstwhile pro surfer named Fred Hemmings in 1971, who called the event “Hawaiian Masters” and offered a modest $1,000 prize to the winner. By 1983, the surfers were battling it out for the championship in the North Shore at what was the first official Triple Crown Surf event which was divided in three separate events. Now 33 years and counting, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is one of the most famous surf competitions worldwide.

Each of the events is broken down based on location and timing. For example, this year, the Hawaiian Pro competition began on November 12th and ended on the 23rd. Currently the Vans World Cup of Surfing is going on, from November 24th to December 6th, followed by the final element of the Triple Crown: the Billabong Pipe Masters which goes from December 8th to the 20th.

Guests and visitors vacationing in Hawaii for the holiday season are welcome to attend this famous competition. Admission is free and those interested in watching can stake out their spots at Sunset Beach where the wave-riders will be surfing until December 6th. The next set will be held at the Banzai Pipeline, which is conveniently close to Turtle Bay Resort for those who want to enjoy a day or two away on the North Shore of beautiful Oahu.

Once you see the greatest surfers in the world charge down these fearsome waves, your view of surfing in Hawaii will be forever changed. Witnessing Vans Triple Crown Surfing competition is an unforgettable experience even for those who have yet to stand up on a board.


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  • Hawaii's Best 2011
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  • American Society of Travel Agents
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