Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

The Pick Up: Why The Triple Crown Is The Most Important QS Stop

Dec 19, 2018

In the past five years, 80 percent of CT qualifiers have had a Triple Crown even in their top five QS scores.

When it’s Vans Triple Crown season, cliches like “proving ground”, “Mecca”, “deadliest”, “hi-fi”, “mice vs men”, and “make or break” get tossed around, a lot.

This is for good reason. So much so, that we don’t cringe at these platitudes but celebrate them; the North Shore is what solidifies a professional surfer. As Sunny Garcia once put it, "It’s what separates the kittens from the lions." During the seven-ish weeks the tour is in town, the shore radiates with broken boards, egos and testosterone induced athleticism; the sand rumbles to a crescendo of Pacific power.

Watching men paddle into second reef Pipe roll-ins from the sand is a magnificent feat, there’s no better viewing in surfing. You can identify each body as they slide into tubes, and hold your breathe until they come out with the spit or down with the lip. And, that song remains the same from Log Cabins to Rocky Point; the eyes that control the surf world are watching, and everyone is taking notes.

A good Triple Crown showing holds more than merit. It’s what will take a virtually unknown surfer and make him a household name – think Wade Carmichael in 2015.

Recently, Jesse Mendes, who has a large Brazilian following just gained worldwide notoriety with his Triple Crown title. He joins the likes of Andy Irons, Sunny Garcia, Joel Parko, John John Florence, Gabby Medina, Julian Wilson, Kelly Slater, Derek Ho, Michael Ho, Seabass and more as one of the few to dominate the competition from Haleiwa to Sunset.

"Winning the Triple Crown is huge for me," Jesse told Stab. "I have been coming to Hawaii for 12 seasons now, and putting so much time in the water. So all of this work paid off. Not just that, but it’s hard to believe that my name is now amongst the names of my surfing heroes being Kelly, John, Andy, Sunny, Mike and D-Ho... It's a dream come true."

The Triple Crown is massively important to qualifying for the world stage. In the past five years, 80 percent of CT qualifiers have had a Triple Crown event in their top five QS scores. Unlike the pitter-patter slop that plagues the QS, Hawaii is different. As Tanner Gudang told us, “The waves we surf in The Triple Crown are so unlike the rest of the QS season. They’re big, powerful and good.”

Hit play above for the final episode of “The Pick Up” a Vans x Stab joint!

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